Lend Me Your Literacy – collaborative projects
Feb13

Lend Me Your Literacy – collaborative projects

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. It’s a really interesting idea, and if you’re looking for some new ideas for teaching literacy (or want to share some of your own)it’s well worth taking some time to look at their resources. Take a look at : http://lendmeyourliteracy.org/ Thanks to Lara Savory (@reallara) for the link via twitter....

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The Ed Tech Blog Carnival 2012 #1
Jan29

The Ed Tech Blog Carnival 2012 #1

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. Stephen Lockyer has written about some of the best iPhone apps that he uses in school. Some very useful recommendations. 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. Chris Coleman, a grade 4 teacher, has written about using the Pearltrees website to create a bookmark web to embed, share and collaborate Tyson Seburn introduces the pros and cons of 3 different ways to use Google apps for scheduling with students. Student teacher Dr Jo Badge has written about Blogging, Tweeting and Being a PGCE Student. 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. Brad Patterson gives 4 key factors that are changing the business of ELT learning. Doug Peterson gives his first look at the LiveBinders iPad application which lead to LiveBinders supporting the Ontario Curriculum. 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. Lisa Butler has written a post about trying a different approach with students and copyright – give them responsibility and ownership and take away the grade. Terry Freedman gives 4 reasons why the ICT Programme of Study “had” to go. Interesting stuff with some excellent points...

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QuadBlogging and Blogging the Leap Year projects
Jan20

QuadBlogging and Blogging the Leap Year projects

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/...

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Starting a blog : a guide for teachers
Jun12

Starting a blog : a guide for teachers

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...

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Blogs Wikis and Podcast Presentations
Feb19

Blogs Wikis and Podcast Presentations

A repost of some presentations I’ve produced in the past about Blogging and Podcasting: Blogs and Wikis in Science teaching USB podcasting presentation New Technologies in the Classroom...

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A UK Ed Tech Blog Carnival?
Jan13

A UK Ed Tech Blog Carnival?

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....

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Educational Blogging Platforms Compared
Mar11

Educational Blogging Platforms Compared

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. If you are interested in finding out about all the different platforms that are available, then Dodie Ainslie has put together a great overview of the various options. You can find it here: http://djainslietech.wikispaces.com/Blogging+Platforms Take a look at the Smartboard resource pages too – some good links there. If you do go with WordPress or Edublogs – then there’s a guide I have written here that should help you get started, and a presentation about blogging in schools....

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MirandaMod Blogging Special
Jun05

MirandaMod Blogging Special

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. More information here....

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Twittering Teacher in Trouble
May23

Twittering Teacher in Trouble

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?...

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