Posts Tagged ‘education’

MapHello and welcome back to the classroom blog. If you are new to this, the series of ten blogs I am creating will hopefully create a resource that educators, students or anyone interested for that matter can use to develop their own blogs. The posts are directed towards people who are new to blogging, like me. I encourage any comments or feedback that will improve and develop this resource.

There are many things you can do to customise your blog, rather than just having a page of text for people to read. One of the simplest things to do is change the theme of your blog.

Themes

Using the dashboard on the left hand side of the screen open the drop down menu for Appearance. In there you will find a sub heading, themes, open this up and simply click on any of the themes that take your fancy. Most of the themes are free but there are a few premium ones you have to pay for. There are a number of ways you can search for different themes whether you use the A-Z or most popular functions is up to you.  Find a screen shot that you like the look of and then hit preview. If you like the preview hit apply and your blog will be changed to this format, if not move on to the next one.

Widgets

Widgets, like the map at the top of this page give you the opportunity to embed small pre written programs. These programs have been developed and written by a number of people around the world and as a result there are many unique and interesting widgets out there.

Widgets in the Appearance Menu

The first, and easiest way to install widgets is using the widgets that are available in the appearance menu. The email subscription button is one such widget, as are the Facebook Page like button and my live twitter feeds. Simply choose the widget you like, drag it acroos to the location boxes on the right hand side of the screen, make sure you save the changes and return to the post. When you preview the page the widget you have just installed will appear. If you don’t like it simply go back to the widget screen and remove it.

HTML Widgets

The second way of installing widgets is by copying and pasting html text directly into the post. This is how the world map and the guest counter are generated. Use a search engine to do a web search, use key words that suit your needs but try and add plug-ins or widgets somewhere in the search criteria. What you need to look for then are sites that will give you the html code. Chose your design and style of what ever widget you require then copy the html code generated by the website(i have absolutely no clue how to read this so have very little understanding). Once you have copied the text return to the post. YOU MUST post the html code on the HTML page or it will not work. You can enter this by clicking on the tab at the top right of the box you type in. Choose where on the page you want the widget then paste the html code there. Return to the visual page and, fingers crossed, the widget should have appeared. Below are a couple of web pages where you can find widgets.

Guest counter

World Map

A blog about which plugins to use

Menu

The menu option, within Appearance, allows you to create a custom set of links from your page. my menu appears at the top of my page but this can be changed and is also dependent of the theme you have chosen. This is a really handy function for scaffolding students in the web direction you want them to take or simply sharing some of your common interests. To use the menu option click on the link in the appearances section. Choose a title for your new menu then using the boxes to the left of the screen add content.  The process is quite simple, I had two web screens open and simply cut and paste web addresses into the boxes.

Custom Design

Unfortunately because this is a paid feature, and I’m a tight Yorkshireman I can’t really offer any insight into this. I suppose it is pretty much as described on the page. If anyone has purchased this feature and would like to share their expertise all comments would be most welcome.

iPad

The iPad feature allows you to make a few changes to make your sight more visually appealing to people accessing it via iPad. The instructions are fairly simple and basic changes can be made. It might be quite a nice feature if you are using iPads within your educational setting. If you are accessing this sight from an iPad I have got the settings turned ON if not you wont be able to see any differences.

Some interesting Reading from the Department of Education WA

Blogs in Education

free hits counter
free hits counter

Getting Back to Previous Posts

Map

OK so the first thing you need to know is how to get back to your first post and do any editing you might want.  Look at the tool bar on the left hand side.  Open the drop down for Posts and then click on All Posts.  This will show any posts you have created.  Simply click on the post and you can start editing.  If you want to create a new post click on add new.  The same process as from the previous blog.

Like everything the more you use it the better you get with it.  Take Microsoft word for example I recently updated from the version I was using.  At first I found it really difficult to find my way around and perform the functions I needed.  Now I am a lot more capable and can appreciate some of the new features.  To get me to this stage took a while and it is exactly the same with WordPress, by using it, playing with it seeing what the different buttons do I am gradually becoming much more competent.  Although there is still a long way to go……

Anyway here some ideas that I have heard about or seen blogs used for.

  • Poetry blog

Water

Kauri Year 3

  • Homework blog

Class 6H Homework

  • Classroom Blogs

Robin Hood Primary

Ferry Lane

High Lawn Primary

Year 6 Blog

Year 3 Quad blogging

4OQ

5Ts blog

Heathfield Year 6

Epsom Grade 1/2

Mr Hamman’s Blog

6KW

  • Guided Writing Blogs

100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups

Enchantment August Challenge

Fern’s Big Idea

Hobbies by 4KM

Rebekah’s Story

  • Thought of the week

Graduate teacher Blogs

New Ideas

64 Ideas For Blog Post

Six reasons why kids should know how to blog

  • Celebration blog

One Last Message From 4oq

Room 13

Learning with Es

Parents Comments

  • Show and tell

Learning.com

Brixton Academy

 School Garden

  • Collaboration with other schools/teachers/students on shared blogs.

Collaborative Projects

  • Reflective Blogs

Abigail’s Blog

  • Resource blogs podcasts of your kids doing the Thrass chant etc…

Voice celebration

Old favourites

Mobile learning

AudioBoo

  • Integrating Technology

iPads

  • Art blog

Kids Art Blog

  • News letter blogs

Bradford schools

  • PE Blog

Shapes in PE

  • Generic Teaching Blogs

*****Education Blog Awards*****

*****Creative School Blogs*****

100 Seriously Cool Classroom Blogs for Teaching Ideas & Inspiration

40 Inspiring Blogs

64 Interesting Ideas for School Blogs

Outstanding teaching

Other Education Blogs from Word Press

A Teacher Field Guide To Parents

21st Century Pedagogy

To Cool For School

Langwitches

The White Board Blog

ICT Magic

The About Page

If you have any more great ideas please put them in the comment boxes.  I would love to know what else is out there.  I suppose now is the time for us all to start creating and having a go at putting something out there.   Don’t worry if you are at all like me the first time was by far the hardest.  I look forward to seeing what gets created.

Term of The Week

Widget :  A widget is basically a piece of web text that some clever designer has written.  This pre made text can then be put into your blog or web page.  The map at the top of this page is an example of a widget so is the subscribe button.  There are loads and loads of different widgets out there that do a multitude of things.

Well congratulation to all of those who have now signed up for the blog through email notification.  I’m hoping this means a few of you have followed the process through and created an account on WordPress.  I suppose, this is where the fun begins!  This is where you get to share your ideas and concepts in your own individualised unique ways.  This is where you get to share the amazing work each of you are doing or just use the blog platform as a way of sharing what exciting things you have been up to of late.  or even just use it as a soap box to shout to the world what you are thinking or feeling.  How ever you decide to use it the fun is in the creation.  You may decide to have multiple blogs and use it for all of the above.

Getting Started

The very first thing you need to do now is create a post.  A post is basically another term for blog or diary entry.  You do this simply by opening the drop down menu for posts in the tool bar down the left hand side.  Click on the link that says new post.  A new screen should open that looks a little like an email box.  In the text box underneath the drawing pin and the words Edit Post put the title of your blog.  To make it even easier it even has the words Enter Title Here.  Once you have entered a title have a look at the tool bar above the big box where you actually write your blog.  The first icon in a capital B.  If you hover your cursor arrow over it, it will reveal what the button does.  Most of the commands are generic to all word processing programs.  The first button to use is the one of the far right (show/hide kitchen sink) this will reveal a number of extra editing functions.  The next thing to do is write some content and that is down to you.

Publishing

Find the publishing box on your page.  It should be in the left hand column.  it will have the buttons ‘Save Draft’, ‘Preview’ and in blue ‘Publish’.  DO NOT PUBLISH YET.  Before you hit the publish button have a little look at the edit options.  The key one is the visibility.  I don’t really know what you have put in your blog.  But are you ready to show it to the world just yet.  I tend to save it as a draft a few times first and keep re visiting it.  Even then, as you’ll probably have noticed, one or two little errors sneak through!  Another nice thing to do is have a quick look at the preview.  this will show you what the final product will look like when it hits the web.

Creating an avatar

OK basically an avatar is the little picture of yourself or whatever you decide it to be.  This is the picture people will see when they view your profile but also the little picture that will appear when you leave a comment on someone else’s post. So choose carefully!  I am going to try to make a short video of how to do this, however I’m not sure the process will be the same as I have already done it.  Please, if this doesn’t work can you leave comments about how you did it so other people can follow your steps.

Key Term Definition

Vloging: vloging or in its extended term is basically blogging but using video.  There are loads of really good example of vloging.  I have added a couple to this weeks list of examples. Vlogs can be up loaded to a platform like youtube and then embed in a regular blog.  Most computers these days have a built in webcam so making a short video is fairly simple.

Question of The Week

What would you like to know about adding next?  Is there something you have seen that you want to add to your blog?

Examples Of Blogs

Pleasantries

OK people thanks to all of you who have replied to the various methods I have used to advertise this process. Remember this is for all educators so If you have a friend or a colleague (not always the same!) who would like to be involved please forward them the link.

My reasons for this blog

Several weeks ago I went on a visit to the UK and was lucky enough to observe a Year 5 teacher, conducting a literacy lesson. What made this lesson special is that all the students were sat in front of computers and taking part in the lesson through the use of a blog. As I walked around the room talking to the various students I was amazed by the enthusiasm and eye for detail the group were displaying. I know a huge part of this was down to the teacher, but what I also found was the blog was acting as a motivator in its own right. The students knew their work had the potential to be read by a huge audience, they knew they were going to give and receive peer feedback, they knew what was required and they could quickly and easy have a look at examples of best practice. I saw the power of a blog first hand.

The Bare Minimum

Ok over the next few weeks I will be sending these blogs out…..

So how do you use them most effectively?

If you want to do the bare minimum, but still have a blog at the end, just read the info I write and complete anything that needs doing, bearing in mind I am on a learning journey as well.

To take a little more out of it have a look at a couple of the videos, see what other people have to say, follow a couple of the links to view best practice but…..

To get the most out of this process become an active learner, leave a comment, ask a question, that way learning can be tailored to an individuals needs. We can use the collective intelligences of all who read this blog to produce something better than any individual possibly could. It doesn’t matter if you miss a session because you are already confident in that area (but feel free to share your expertise) or go on ahead and figure things out for yourself.

What is a Blog?

A blog is basically a personal website on which an individual records opinions, links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis. A blog can be about absolutely anything from your favourite football team through to the aero dynamic qualities of a ping-pong ball. Once a blog is published it is available for other people around the wall to view and/or leave comment on.

The Truth About Blogging

Work Load Disclaimer!!

Lets get the unpleasantries out the way first. What is blogging going to cost you in terms of time? Blogging will not reduce your workload, it will not make all the unpleasant bits of teaching suddenly disappear, what it will do is make them a little more enjoyable. The blog will need establishing. The blog will need maintaining. I have completed a rough draft of how the project will evolve. There will be ten separate blogs posted at regular intervals (when I have time). The blogs will incorporate a number of types of media but each one will probably take 15-20 minutes on average to digest and complete any tasks that need doing. The blogs will be in sequential order working through the process of building your own multimedia engaging blog to help drive student out comes. Each week I will try to include examples of other blogs that are out there so you can beg borrow steal any interesting ideas you might come across. Remember the more you become an active member with the blogs, e.g. leaving comments or telling a friends about them the more potential followers you will have when your blogs go live.

E-Safety

Please be aware that anything you publish on the web is viewable to anyone who has an internet connection. If managed correctly this doesn’t pose a problem. In later blogs we will look at the management options availability to you to ensure student safety and anonymity. Blogs do present an excellent opportunity to develop greater digital literacy amongst students.

Classroom Blog Program

At this stage I am hoping to complete the whole program in ten separate blogs. They will all be of similar structure to this but hopefully with a few changes each week. The ten blog titles at this stage will be:

Some examples of classroom blogs: http://robinhoodpmfl.wordpress.com/How To Access Blog; http://chrisleach78.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/kids-art-blog/

  1. Part 1: Why Blog?
  2. Part 2: Choosing a platform
  3. Part 3: Getting Started
  4. Part 4: Your Ideas
  5. Part 5: Customising your blog
  6. Part 6: Adding Multimedia
  7. Part 7: Increasing Traffic
  8. Part 9: RSS explained
  9. Part 10: Growing your community
  10. Part 11: Maintaining your blog

Key Term Definition

Each blog (when necessary) I will look at one key term or piece of jargon talk and try to put it into plain English. This weeks term is ‘Web 2.0’. Web 2.0 is basically a more interactive web, as educators we are all highly competent as using the web as a library of resources and downloadable materials. Using the web in this way is fine and will continue for many years to come. Web 2.0 takes it to the next level, and is more about interactivity, sharing your thoughts and ideas, leaving comments and opinions on various topics and becoming an active part of the collective information network.

Subscribe to this blog

Simply click on the box at the bottom that asks you to be notified of new posts. This way an email will be sent automatically when I post a new blog.

Question of the Week (please leave comments below)

How do you see your self using blogs in your classroom?