Tasmanian Blogs

ISTE2014 – been and gone

A quiet time at blogger’s cafe

Just a quick post about my impressions of #ISTE2014. I will write separate posts about apps/tools to use in your classroom and one about other people to follow either via their blogs or Twitter.

Firstly, transportation in Atlanta was fantastic – hop on the MARTA (train) from the airport and get off at N4 about 50 metres from the hotel I stayed in. Many other participants there including my friend Tracy Watanabe.

The heat – every day was in the late 80F – and high humidity with it. Many of you know I hate the heat so was glad of the air conditioning in the GWCC – Georgia World Congress Centre, where the conference took place.

One of the ISTE graphic designers created an infographic about ISTE by the numbers – check it out here.

I can certainly attest to the crowds. Going from each level of the centre were three escalators – depending on traffic, one up, two down. The bloggers cafe where I sat quite often was down two floors and near the entrance to the expo, so a lot of foot traffic passing by. On the Sunday when the expo opened, it was very stuffy down that level so I found the international lounge instead.

ISTE had a great app to download for your mobile device and had a networking game you could join. You had to find key words around the conference centre, take part in sessions where a secret code would be given at the end, send out tweets from the app, send out instagram photos from the app and most importantly, swap secret codes with other participants.  I was in the top 100 at one stage but then the face to face connecting became more important than swapping codes to me.

Someone very quickly put together a Google document that was a shared document for anyone to add to. This is real collaboration and here is the link to notes people have shared about the different sessions they went to over the 4 days of the conference. Looking at that document you will see Evernote is a favourite way of taking notes easily at a conference.

Lots of poster sessions – many led by students – some from Mexican schools. I took lots of photos of these sessions and scanned lots of QR codes to look at their websites etc once I get home. Each poster session was a theme – Saturday night was global connections and I presented with Tracy Watanabe from Phoenix, Arizona on the student blogging challenge. I will probably write a separate post just on the poster sessions.

Even if you were #notatiste14 you could take part. Sue Waters from Edublogs was curating a flipboard magazine including links from the #ISTE2014 twitter stream. Nearly 900 articles as of publishing this post. At one stage Paula Naugle @plnaugle ran a google hangout with Will Chamberlain – founder of #comments4kids and I suggested bringing in Sue Waters as well – hangout was to talk about blogging of course.

But the most important takeaway from ISTE has been it is all about the students – how can we make them independent and life long learners? There were lots of sessions about the tools and apps but also many about how to use technology in your classroom to improve the learning of your students.

Here is the link to the next ISTE conference in 2015 to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania June 28 – July 1. Maybe you would like to attend and add it into your holidays.

More specific posts coming soon.

 

On holidays + ISTE2014

As many of you may have realised, I have been on holidays over the last three weeks. I have been touring Ireland doing some family history research on my great great grandmother who came out to Tasmania as a convict. But I have also been a tourist with Davo, the Tasmanian Devil soft toy who has his own blog.

istelogoBut the next week of my holiday is taking place in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. It is the 2014 ISTE conference – International Society for Technology in Education.  This will be the 3rd conference I have attended and at each I have presented a poster session about the student blogging challenge which I began in 2008 and run every March and September for 10 weeks.

With about 15000 people attending, there are many sessions to take part in as well as many exhibits to look at. I will be attending a lot of blogging sessions. Sue Waters from Edublogs, who wont be at ISTE, has put together a Google document with information from the various sessions I will be attending and I will be adding to her document as will other keen bloggers. Here is a link if you want to check out some of the fabulous resources from other teachers blogging around the world.

The conference has its own twitter hashtag. You don’t need to be a member of Twitter to follow the hashtag – just google search for #ISTE2014 and check out the links people will be adding with images as well as documents, blogs etc they have found interesting.

I have started learning how to scan and save QR codes, so hopefully many sessions will include these to make it easier for the participants to find information. Of course I will be visiting the big expo and putting in my raffle tickets to try and win prizes and to collect any freebies going. I will also be writing a post every couple of days and putting it on both this blog and our new one for all our blogs next year. So by the end of June, and the ISTE conference, I think I will have earned my relaxing holiday in Ireland.

A few changes – please read


Creative Commons License Photo Credit: fliegender via Compfight

G’day blogging classes, teachers and students in Tasmania,

No more blogging with the eschoolblog URL after the end of 2014

You may have noticed a recent change to your blog. The URL now begins with www and you have lost your  fantastic clustrmap. The reason for this is that

 Edublogs is “in the process of changing networks over to www if they are top level domains because we’re getting ready to install Cloudflare on all networks. For these types of domains we can only use Cloudflare if it is www.  It will only affect a small number of our campus networks and all blogs on that network.  “

This means our blogs on our eschoolblog network.

But the other information you need to know is that our domain name www.eschoolblogs.org.au will no longer be available as from the beginning of 2015. We have had this for over two years now and my bosses have begun a new domain with a less restrictive URL

We will be using www.xpress360.net.au instead.

We are already starting any new blogs on this network and you will now have a choice ready to start in 2015.

  • 1. Keep working on old blog – minus clustrmap – and at end of 2014, stop blogging.
  • 2. Keep working on old blog – minus clustrmap and by the end of December, export/import posts, comments, pages etc into a new blog at the new domain.
  • 3. Start a new blog immediately and export/import data across during July.
  • 4. Start a totally new blog from scratch anytime between now and end of 2014.

Sue will help do the export/import but all 2014 students will need to be added as new users for options 3 – Sue will send a spreadsheet to teachers with information, then Sue can add them in one big batch per class.

So could all teachers with class blogs or administrators of group/student blogs, please email Sue over the next month saying which option they want to choose.

  • 1. Stop blogging end of 2014
  • 2. New blog by end of year with old posts etc
  • 3. New blog immediately with old posts etc ready to start Term 3
  • 4. Totally new blog by end of 2014

Sue will also be sending an email out to all blog admins (just in case they don’t read this post) to find out what they want done with their blogs at the end of 2014.  It will be assumed any teachers not replying to either this post or email, will not be blogging from the beginning of 2015.

You will notice Sue has started added pages to the new URL to help in setting up your new blogs.

Any questions or comments feel free to ask in the comment area of this post.

 

New student blogging course

Say Hello to Pudú
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Lizette Greco via Compfight

Our student blogging course starts on Monday March 17. Another course will be run later in the year if you want to add students then.

The course is run via an online classroom, so students need to be self motivated and fairly independent. They also need to want to have their own blog and have lots of ideas about posts they could put on their blog for others to read and comment on. The online class runs on Mondays from 1.30 till 4.30 so students can also join from home. Preferably they should have a headset with microphone whether they are in a computer lab with just their supervising teacher or working in the back of a classroom. There is a link to the online classroom under the active Tassie blogs on the sidebar. Feel free to join the class if you have any blogging questions.You will need to have Java on your computer.

If you have any work they need to do in class, you can ask them to add it to their blog if appropriate. This could include storywriting, poetry, art etc but no images of themselves.

Here is a list of the 12 things they need to complete in the first month of the course. Some will only take seconds, others half an hour. They can be completed during class or out of school hours if students have internet access at home.

Students will need to check the work finished page each week to see what else they need to complete. Posts showing  how to do these activities can be found in the Getting Started page in the header.

  1. Be able to login quickly to your own blog and class blog if you have one.
  2. Update your profile including change your password and the display name.
  3. Settings – blog title, tagline, timezone, add teacher as administrator
  4. Plugin – activate compfight plugin and change settings for short side
  5. About me page for your visitors to read – remember no personal information
  6. Left two comments on the main student bloggers blog
  7. Changed your theme
  8. Written at least two posts
  9. Edublog widgets organized on your sidebar
  10. Make at least 3 comments on other student blogs from this online class
  11. Added your clustrmap, a clock and a pet widget
  12. Create and upload your avatar

All posts and comments will be moderated and not published until checked by me or their supervising teacher.

If you are interested in having some or all of your students with their own blog (great as a portfolio if in a 1:1 school), feel free to get in touch with me so I can show you how to set up your student blogs.

Safer Internet Day Feb 11

SID2014

Now that your class has started blogging, they might need to learn some skills about being safe on the internet. Here are a few links to activities you might want to use for Safer Internet Day on Tuesday February 11.

CyberSmart have a set of free challenges relating to real life issues on the internet. Check them out here.

Add the Safer Internet Day (SID) logo or banner to your blog. Get it from here.

The theme for the day is “Let’s create a better internet together”. This means working with parents as well. Maybe get some pages together for your blog with guidelines for parents. Here are some examples: edublogs has many examples from a variety of schools, Kathleen Morris has a two page parent guide on this page. Remember to give attribution if you adopt one of these guidelines for your parent page or documents.

Maybe your parents want to join the chatterbox area from Safer Internet Day – find out about selfies, sexting and other advice about the internet.

Check out CyberSmart on Youtube for some videos to use during the day. This will allow for discussion. Maybe add video to a blog post and have students leave comments.

Check out the resources for CyberSmart citizens.

Introducing blog to students

So you have spent many hours of your holidays getting your blog ready, even maybe taking part in the refresher course. You are overloaded with information and new terminology. But how are you going to start blogging with your students?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Start with paper blogging. Here is a post explaining how to do this.
  • Why not create a bulletin board in the classroom explaining the terminology and adding the paper blogs in the post area.
  • Talk to students about creating safe, secure passwords.
  • Check out how this teacher begins blogging with her class – great list of student friendly blogs to discuss.

In class meetings, discuss:

  • blog title and tagline
  • blogging guidelines – create page on your blog so parents also understand – link to post about guidelines
  • quality comments – show Mrs Yollis’ video by her students
  • ideas for posts
  • monitors for blogging – eg class photographer, class reporters

So far, all this has been done before students even write on your class blog.

Have students leave comments on your posts without having logged in. This will help when they leave comments on other blogging platforms such as blogger, wordpress and kidblogs. Talk about their email address, the anti-spam word, how to change the anti-spam or captcha if they can’t read it.

Now teach them how to login, update their profile and change their password.

Have lots of posts for students to leave quality comments on. Allow them to visit other blogs on your sidebar to leave comments on those blog posts.

Finally allow those students who are commenting well to start writing posts on the blog – maybe working in pairs to start with.

Any thing else students could do early in their blogging?

 

Is your blog ready for a new class?

You are getting ready to head back to school next week. You have probably been into your classroom, started setting up the displays, got the furniture organized, made sure you have all the equipment you need to start when the students arrive.

But have you thought about your class blog?

Some of the following hints and tips might be done in a class meeting so your students also have a say in what the class blog looks like.

Changed theme – a new class, maybe some students are with you for a second year so a new theme would be great – dashboard>appearance> theme

Changed blog title and tagline - maybe you have changed year levels, maybe you have a class motto or saying to help learning – dashboard>settings> general

Removed previous students as users of the blogdashboard> users> all users> tick box in front of students you want removed> bulk dropdown remove> then apply

Added new students as contributorsdashboard> users> blog and user creator> new users> see paragraph further down this post about creating usernames.

Added new users who have an existing username – some students might be coming into your classroom from a previous class that blogged. These students are added by dashboard> users> blog and user creator> add existing user

Changed sidebars – if you have changed themes from two sidebars to one sidebar then many of your widgets will have been moved to the inactive widgets area – dashboard>appearance> widgets> click and drag from the inactive area to your sidebar. Click on dropdown arrows to open sidebar(s)

Updated links to other class blogs – maybe you want to add some new blogs to your list – find some on the sidebar of this blog – right click> copy URL address then add at your blog – dashboard>links> new link - remember to add them to a category

Added student names to post tags or categories – this makes it easy for you and parents to find all posts written by the same student – dashboard> posts> categories or tags

Written your first welcome post – remember to end your post with a question to help students start conversations in the comment section of your blog.

Thought about post and lesson relating to creating strong passwords which will be needed when students login and update their profiles. Here is link to a post including a video about strong passwords.

Thought about a post relating to quality comments. It is the commenting that keeps your blog going so it is necessary to actually teach this. Find the video link here.

Enjoy the last couple of days of your holidays.

Leave a comment if you think of other things to do before class gets back.

2014, here we come!

Welcome Piggies
Photo Credit: Enokson via Compfight

Welcome back to a new year of blogging. First are the refresher courses being held in Devonport, Launceston and Hobart this week. For those of you who couldn’t attend due to family commitments or other holiday events, here are some of the links used to help you with your blogging this year.

Great blogs to check out

  • How are these Tassie teachers using their blogs?
  • Is it mainly to communicate with parents?
  • Is it for showcasing student work?
  • Are students contributing posts?
  • Have students learnt about image attribution?
  • Have students been taught about quality commenting?
  • How do parents use the blog?

Ms A at Miandetta, Grade 3/4 at Longford, Grade 4/5 at Bicheno, Grade 4/5 at Montagu Bay, Grade 6 at Rosetta, Grade 4 at Riverside, Grade 3/4 in Derwent Valley, Grade 3/4 at Punchbowl, Grade 5 at Rosetta

How are you going to use your blog this year?

Add your ideas to this Google document.

Leave a comment on this post

outlining your vision for blogging in your classroom this year. Remember to use quality comments.

Here is a video by Linda Yollis’ students talking about quality comments. This would be suitable to show your students and then discuss. Maybe put the video in a post and have students leave comments.

Here is an interview of Linda Yollis talking about blogging and commenting. Great for teachers to watch.

Adding features to your blog

All students whether Kindergarten or grade 10 all enjoy looking at the sidebars of class blogs, especially if they are interactive. But noisy sidebars can distract from the value of the blog, so think carefully about which widgets are on the sidebar and which you embed in a post or page.

What widgets are recommended by other teachers?

Check out these posts by Sue Waters from Edublogs – pinterest board of widgets, top widgets from Ronnie Burt at Edublogs, working with widgets including class blogs to visit, adding widgets and questions you might have, demo widget blog,

What tools allow students to be creative on blogs?

Maybe you want your students writing stories, creating comics, reading a book report aloud. These can all be showcased on your class blog by using many different tools that have embed code included or where you take a screenshot and save as an image.

Check out these posts of web 2.0 tools to use on blogs -

 Connecting globally

You have now been blogging for at least a year and you want to start connecting globally. How do you do it?

  • Join the student blogging challenge which starts in March and September each year – run by Miss W – weekly ideas for posts – lists of other classes around the world grouped according to grade level
  • Join quadblogging – four classes working together – need to make sure each teacher understands what is happening though – maybe start by connecting with other classes in Tasmania
  • Check out the global classroom wikispace – lots of projects on right sidebar created by teachers around the world – some are one off activities, others involve reading a book together, some include toys sent to classrooms
  • Send posts to Mrs Yollis’ 365 project – include image of something you have taken and write a post to go with it – read instructions on the post link
  • Join Miss W.’s Australia – our country project and write posts about Tasmania and Australia in general
  • Take part in the 100 word challenge – great for creative writing
  • Check out the projects by Jen website – great creative ideas for classes
  • Create a twitter class account and tweet out about what is happening in class or join other teachers with a twitter project, here are a couple of examples – tweeting about the weather,  tweeting about vocabulary

Your class has access to many computers, tablets or ipads each day

Why not create student personal blogs? They can include work you set in school, but also allow them to write about their interests outside of school. Here are some examples of student blogs started last year.

Madison, Annabel, Jacob, Mackenzie, Gabrielle, Caitlin

Miss W. will be running online sessions for student blogging every Wednesday and Friday afternoon beginning in March – students can drop in with questions. Check out the student bloggers blog for the link to the online classroom.

Congratulations

Congratulations go to both Mackenzie and Annabel whose blogs have been shortlisted in the best student blog section of the Edublog Awards.

If teachers wish to vote for their blogs before the 18th December, please click on the image below. You may only vote once  from the same IP address. This means vote from lots of different computers outside the school system, as all department computers have the same IP Address.

If your students wish to vote for them, they will need to click on this link and find either Mackenzie (!ROAR!) or Annabel (Dance to this blog) on the poll and vote that way. The reason students vote differently is that Edublog Awards are on a list.ly format and can only join if 13 and older. So younger students get the chance to vote using the polldaddy instead. They can vote once each day from the same IP address.

Miss Wyatt has also been nominated in the lifetime achievement section – click here if you wish to vote for her.

The student blogging challenge which Miss Wyatt runs has also been nominated in the best use of social media section – click here to vote for that.

 

Many thanks to those educationalists around the world who nominated either Mackenzie, Annabel or Miss Wyatt for the Edublog Awards.

Nominations for #eddies13

Every year, Edublogs runs its Edublog Awards - this is the 10th year so a special anniversary. You can nominate blogs, wikis, tweets etc in many different categories.

These are my nominations for 2013.

Best student blog –  Annabel – works hard to keep blog up to date – always lots of fresh posts to read – took part in the student challenge mainly as a commenter rather than a student participant

Best new blogMackenzie – also works hard keeping the blog looking fresh – also took part in the challenge as a commenter – could also be in best student blog but I could only nominate one in each category

Best administrator blogJohn Goh – everything on this relatively new blog relates to Australian problems and solutions in education  but with reference to his research on overseas blogs as well – John is also a well known tweeter on #ozprimschchat

Best twitter hashtag – as a blogger with students, you can’t go past #comments4kids as a great hashtag – find more info on their website

 Best class blogIf only the best birds sang – Merry Beau from near Dublin Ireland runs this great class blog. Originally for grade 2, this year it has spread from grade 1 to grade 6. It allows students to learn 24/7/365 if they wish – lots of appropriate activities and widgets to help students learn anywhere, anytime

Best group blogCougar News - this blog is written as part of a journalism class at Cactus Canyon Junior High in Arizona. Well written, interesting posts by many students

Nominations close today 1 December, but check out the Edublog Awards to find out which nominations got through to the short list and vote for your favourites.

These awards are a great way to find other interesting blogs to follow and get ideas from.

You usually can vote once a day in each category from the same IP address. This means all the computers from the Department of Education have the same IP so you will also need to vote from home, libraries, ipads, iphones etc at different IP addresses.