Lendmeyourliteracy.org is a very interesting online resource base for teachers and students of Literacy. It’s billed as a one stop website for examples of good pieces of literacy work written by children and not just models written in a text book.
Teachers can use these pieces of work for moderation purposes and an aid to good teaching, inspiring children to believe…
Teachers can pick the very best examples of literacy work in their class and upload them to the lendmeyourliteracy website. This work can then be seen by schools nationwide as part of the lendmeyourliteracy network. Teachers can also upload examples of everyday literacy such as application forms, personal statements and letters to support Skills for Employment for Adults.
Take a look at : http://lendmeyourliteracy.org/
Thanks to Lara Savory (@reallara) for the link via twitter.Read More
A few weeks ago I asked for educational bloggers to share some of their posts as part of a Blog Carnival. The idea would be that they would write about aspects of technology in education, and I would then collate into a single post that points to them all. Hopefully you the reader will discover some blogs you haven’t seen before.
So here’s the posts that make up the first Ed Tech Blog Carnival for January 2012:
To start, I’ll point to a post by me about the options available to use interactive whiteboards without the software.
Expat Educator Janet Abercrombie has written a great post about using student news videos as an alternative to newsletters. Learn the process of creating a classroom video news report.
Kevin Hodgson has written a post entitled: “Considering Mentor Texts 2: The Evolution of an Idea“. Exploring the ways that Make Your Own Adventure novels/stories might be used in the classroom with students, with wikis as one platform for writing and then with YouTube annotations.
Tyson Seburn introduces the pros and cons of 3 different ways to use Google apps for scheduling with students.
Greg Russell has written about his thoughts on the current state of using e-books for learning.
Seth Dickens gives the first in a series of 5 video interviews he did at BETT 2012, approaching his favourite stands at BETT and asking them why they come to BETT and what are they doing to make teachers’ lives easier. Interesting stuff.
Tom Hesmondhalgh writes about using Google+ to Help Improve Your Teaching. Google+ has generated its fair share of hype since its launch, and while it’s still officially in beta it’s growing at an incredible rate. Tom describes how teachers can harness some of the unique features of Google+ to help improve their practice.
Terry Freedman gives 4 reasons why the ICT Programme of Study “had” to go. Interesting stuff with some excellent points about the state of ICT teaching in our schools right now.
A quick post to make my readers aware of an excellent project set up by Deputy Headteacher David Mitchell. He’s developed an excellent model for school collaboration called Quadblogging which sets up groups of schools to talk, share ideas, information and comment on each others’ work. At present there are more than 1000 classes in 27 countries working together creating some incredible moments of learning as well as fellowship. It’s an excellent idea, and the project is open to any school around the world, so get in touch with David if you want your class to get involved.
An exciting extension of this is the Feb29th.net project. Feb29th.net is a global blogging project that will cross all age groups and continents. As soon as Feb 29th 2012 begins in Tonga, the Feb29th.net website will open up to collect posts for a single day.
The Feb29th blog will capture posts from all over the world on this rare day until midnight in the Western Pacific. The result will not only be a celebration of technology, but a celebration of audience and purpose, who will be the youngest author? Who will be the oldest? Which country will top the most posts?
The aim is to allow any visitor on 29th Feb to post; these will be moderated on the day, as this will also be open to pupils in educational establishments across the globe.
To find out how your school can take part in the Feb 29 project visit : http://feb29th.net/
For more information about QuadBlogging, visit: http://quadblogging.net/Read More
I’ve had a few requests recently for advice on starting up a blog, so I thought I’d summarise some of my advice in a blog post.
The first important decision is what blogging platform to use. There are many out there, but the main two that you should consider are Blogger and WordPress. You might also want to “self-host” your own blog on your own website.
Both Blogger and WordPress.com are free to sign up for. You will get a personalised web address which will be something like dannysblog.wordpress.com or dannysblog.blogspot.com. When you sign up you can choose that part of the URL. Think carefully about that – don’t pick something too long or complicated that your visitors might get wrong.
Both WordPress.com and Blogger give you a certain amount of free space, and some control over the look and feel for your blog. You can choose from many of the pre-installed widgets and plugins which give you extra features.
As an alternative – if you are doing an educational-themed blog then do consider Edublogs, which is geared towards free blogs for teachers. It uses the same engine as WordPress. The free version does come with some adverts, and there are paid upgrades if you wish which remove these.
If you are just starting out – I’d recommend using a hosted blog such as WordPress.com or Blogger. If you know a little more about what you are doing then you can buy your own webspace from one of the many internet hosting companies out there – and install your own version of WordPress from WordPress.org. This gives you much more control over the look and function of your blog with a wealth of plugins and themes to choose from and install. But to be honest, for the beginner I would not recommend starting there. In the future if you want to you can always set up your own blog and import all the content from Blogger/Wordpress.
Managing your blog
Both Blogger and WordPress provide you with an admin “back-end” to your blog which only you can see which lets you organise and write your blog posts. When you click the “publish” button your blogpost will go live for everyone to see.
You can also set up categories for your posts, this means that in the future all posts on similar topics can be easily found. Think about the categories that you want for your blog – what will you be writing about? You can add more categories later on, but it does help to start with a few. You can see the categories for this blog on the sidebar to the right. Tags are also important – these are keywords that can help you find posts later.
As you write your blog posts you can also add other content such as images or videos. It’s not always possible to upload directly to your blog – there are limitations on space etc. But you can upload videos to YouTube and embed them into your blog. Likewise documents could be uploaded to your Dropbox Public folder and then linked to from the blog – or uploaded to somewhere like Scribd.com
The hardest bit about running a blog is thinking of content and writing it Think about what you want to say and who is going to read it. Your blog is public, so consider any issues of privacy. If you are going to be reflective be sure to anonymise details and names. Take a look at what other blogs are doing – visit some of the blogs in my Blogroll in the sidebar to the right to get some ideas.
Don’t steal chunks of content direct from other bloggers. If you read an idea that you like elsewhere then paraphrase it on your blog and give a link back to the original post.
Hyperlink often – if you mention sites and other bloggers then link to them, either to their blog or to their twitter profile so your readers can find them easily.
For some more things to think about take a look at these Five tips for writing better blog posts.
I have written a few guides which can find in the guides section of this website. You’ll find a general guide to Blogging in Schools, a guide to Making a WordPress Blog (screenshots are slightly out of date, but the basic ideas still work) and a short presentation.
Also worth taking a look at this guide from Edublogs on Getting Started With Edublogs. It covers the Edublogs platform since they are using packaged version of WordPress it will also be useful if you have put your blog onto WordPress.com.
Here’s a guide to getting started with Blogger, by Jim Hollis
If you do start a blog, let me know – post in the comments. Also if you have any other good tips for bloggers just starting out please add those too.
Happy Blogging!Read More
A repost of some presentations I’ve produced in the past about Blogging and Podcasting:Read More
At BETT I attended a talk about blogging, and mention was made of blog carnivals. It was something I had seen previously, but had forgotten all about. I’d seen a few science ones and skeptic ones, such as this: Carnival of Evolution, which kind of gives you the idea I think.
It’s not that kind of carnival…..
A blog carnival is where people write a blog posts on their own blogs with a common theme (i.e. technology in education) within a certain timescale (by end of month), and then each author sends the URL of blog posts and a short description to one person who then “hosts” the carnival for that month/quarter. They write a blog post which links to all the posts involved in the carnival. Next time, someone else hosts it, and links to posts.
Here’s what Wikipedia says about blog carnivals.
It got me thinking about whether there were any Education Technology carnivals. I found an general education one, but was thinking that a UK Education Chat (#ukedchat) Carnival would be a good thing to try. I’d be happy to host the first one here, and then others can take it on if they like the idea.
If people are interested – let me know in the comments below or contact me on twitter. If enough people express an interest, we could kickstart the first one. Give everyone two weeks to get a post written and a link sent to me (danny at think-bank dot com)
Or we could broaden it out into an Ed Tech blog carnival and include overseas bloggers too? Thoughts?
Update - OK let’s try this out. Full details here : Ed Tech Blog Carnival. Closing date 30th Jan.
Image credit. Green Mask by Calca.Read More
When I run my Blogging training days, we usually focus on getting an account with WordPress or Edublogs. Both run off the same backend, but Edublogs is tailored more for educators.
You can find it here: http://djainslietech.wikispaces.com/Blogging+Platforms
Take a look at the Smartboard resource pages too – some good links there.Read More
If you are in London on 19th June, and have an interest in teacher blogging, then the MirandaMod Blogging conference may well be something you should attend.
It’s a free event held at the Institute of Education in London.
There are three parts to this participative CPD experience. Participants can attend all three to gain a wide overview of blogging, or just one or two of the sessions. The aim is to conclude with a collaborative resource that will help other teachers to understand the blogging landscape.
I was half way through delivering a course on how to use Web 2.0 in the classroom when I saw a headline on the BBC news website that stopped me in my tracks for a second: Probe into Teacher Twitter Posts. I was gobsmacked when I read it.
Now I will agree that a teacher does need to realise that their twitter feed can be read by more than just their close group of friends (unless you protect your updates I guess) and so as such it’s not really professional to complain about students in a way that they could be identified.
I am being followed by a few of my PGCE students. I may have tweeted in the past that I am trying to muster the energy to mark their stack of assignments, but I wouldn’t be tweeting about how many failed etc (if any) since that’s unfair on the students to hear it that way. I wouldn’t complain about any of the students on Twitter (although, since they’re actually a lovely bunch this year I don’t need to any way!)
Now the article does say
“The teacher in question is not facing disciplinary action, although the council is looking into the matter.”
Which makes you wonder what the story really is here. And how it ended up on the BBC site? And I’m concerned that the BBC can see fit to just take a teachers tweets and use them out of context
It does seem to me that there’s a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to Twitter recently. A few months back there was a story about a magistrate who resigned after complaints that he was twittering about cases. Again the real story was that the council completely misunderstood how Twitter was being used. In fact it was being used to make the workings of the court more transparent, and no private info was being revealed.
So what do you think about this? If a teacher is twittering during a class then maybe there is an argument that they are not fully focussed on their teaching. How would the teacher react if students were twittering during the lesson? But to blast a teacher for using Twitter at all?
One sentence from the BBC article that amazed me was this one:
Argyll and Bute Council policy states that teachers may access professional blogs which have educational value but are not allowed to have their own blog.
Really?? They are not allowed to have a blog?
As one of my Twitter followers Kate pointed out – “who is writing these professional blogs that Bute teachers are allowed to read? Surely not other teachers then?” And that’s a good point.
Is this true? Can anyone who works for Argyll and Bute let me know if this is actual policy?
How can Argyll and Bute ban teachers from having their own blogs? That’s totally unreasonable and goes against much of the guidance being offered on the Learning and Teaching Scotland’s own advice site, who says things like:
A key use for blogs in the education world is the keeping of a Teacher Learning Log, or an Edublog. This is not about filing away CPD courses you’ve done, but reflecting on the day-to-day work done in the classroom and how it might be done differently, better or in collaboration with someone else ‘out there’. Normally, you’ll quickly make contacts with like-minded souls – but only if you have already contributed something to the bigger picture by writing about your experiences regularly.
Sharing ideas with others
The edublogging world is a compassionate place where people are always willing to help out with advice, tips or just reassurance that you’re doing it correctly. They will even share resources and good links. But it works both ways – share and share alike and you will feel your teaching changing as real-time reflection and deep thinking take place away from the hubbub of school.
Or how about from this page?
LTS encourages its staff to read, comment on, and start their own blogs, podcasts and wikis. These software applications can be invaluable in the workplace, school or learning environment. They allow people to collaborate, learn, and communicate in ways which weren’t possible before.
So Learning and Teaching Scotland is encouraging teachers to set up blogs, but individual councils are then banning teachers from doing this? There’s some mixed messages going on here.
I seem to get the impression that they don’t really understand blogging and twittering, and so they’d rather just block and ban it.
I have seen some excellent teacher blogs. Many of them share good practise and examples of the excellent work their students are doing. Many of them share lots of good ideas with the education community.
I will agree that teacher blogs should not really be making negative comments about students, that is unprofessional. And if the teacher is doing that, then a quiet word in their ear from their line manager may be appropriate to stop them making comments about the school or pupils.
There is some excellent guidance on what you can and can’t say on your blog on the LTS site, which does seem to explain things better. And these are some good guidelines to work around.
It does lead to some interesting discussions – and there was a lot of shock about the story on the twittering teaching community yesterday afternoon when it came out.
What is becoming more evident is for school management to get themselves up to speed on these new ways of communication and to understand them, before they start issuing disciplinary action. I’m hoping that the full story comes out soon and I’m also hoping that there’s been some serious misreporting here and that maybe this has been sensationalised a little.
Over to you.
Why does Argyll and Bute Education promote weblogs in schools?
Education’s continued development of Information and Communications Technology
(ICT) in Argyll and Bute, includes the promotion of modern methods of communication
across schools and the wider community.
So it looks like the quote about them banning teachers from having blogs is probably nonsense. I wonder who gave that quote, and why?Read More