Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Blogging Styles

This gem of a presentation on Slideshare contains a compilation of the 25 different styles of Blogging.

Very useful to look through to get new ideas for your edublog or your classroom blog. Ignore the commercialised parts of the presentation (eg "buzz index" and "max times per week) and use the ideas to springboard off and think of how they could apply to you in your setting ;)

Ones I am liking and thinking of trying in some capacity are:
  • LIST blogging - out of blogs I read the Cool Cat Teacher is the queen of this!
  • LIVE blogging - no I haven't done this yet.... yes Durff you can expect some of this direct from ULearn!
  • BRIDGE blogging - "writing for an audience outside your everyday reality" - I'm going to see if I can specifically apply this to my class and their blogs.
Interesting also to look through your posts - you can see which ones of these 'styles' your posts align to. Check out the presentation below!

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Have you heard??

This from Greg Carroll via the New Zealand Principal's Federation (NZPF)

Have you heard??
Next Season on Survivor
(Rewritten by G. Lovegrove)

Have you heard about the next planned "Survivor" show?

Three businessmen and three businesswomen will be dropped in a primary school classroom for 6 weeks. Each business person will be provided with a copy of the school curriculum, and a class of 28 students.

Each class will have five learning-disabled children, three with A.D.D., one gifted child, and two who speak limited English. Three will be labelled with severe behaviour problems.

Each business person must complete lesson plans at least 3 days in advance, with annotations for curriculum objectives and modify, organise, or create materials accordingly. They will be required to teach students, handle misconduct, implement technology, document attendance, write referrals, correct homework, make bulletin boards, conduct assessments, complete report forms, document benchmarks, communicate with parents, and arrange parent interviews. They must also supervise morning tea and lunchtime breaks and monitor the entrance foyer.

In addition, they will complete drills for fire, earthquakes, tornados, and shooting attacks. They must attend workshops, (100 hours), staff meetings, union meetings, and attend curriculum development meetings.

They must also tutor those students who are behind and strive to get their 2 non-English speaking children proficient in English. If they are sick or having a bad day they must not let it show.

Each day they must incorporate reading, writing, maths, science, technology and social studies into the programme. They must maintain discipline and provide an educationally stimulating environment at all times.

The business people will only have access to the golf course on the weekends, but on their new salary they will not be able to afford it anyway. There will be no access to vendors who want to take them out to lunch, and lunch (raw vegetables and water) will be limited to 20 minutes. On days when they do not have playground duty, the business people will be permitted to use the staff toilets as long as another survival candidate is supervising their class.

They will be provided with two days per term of Classroom Release Time, during which time they must maintain all individual assessment checks, running records, numeracy tests and keep all health and attendance records up to date.

If the copier is operable, they may make copies of necessary materials at this time. The business people must continually advance their education on their own time and pay for this advanced training themselves. This can be accomplished by moonlighting at a second job or marrying someone with money.

The winner will be allowed to return to his or her job.

Pass this to any friends who think teaching is easy.

Know anyone else who has this amazing job description?!

Thanks Greg, what a great find... thanks for sharing - its made my day!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Happy Blogiversary to you!

"It's been 10 years since the blog was born. Love them or hate them, they've roiled presidential campaigns and given everyman a global soapbox."

The above, from the Wall Street Journal... Isn't it amazing to think that blogs have been around for 10 years now!!

This is my second year using blogs in my classroom and it's actually hard to look back at a time when I didn't use them. Especially this year, blogging has changed the whole tapestry and fabric that my classroom is made up of (and for the better!)

I now teach a class of students that are highly motivated and enthusiastic when it comes to I.T., they understand more about the world around them and they feel like their ideas, thought, opinions and learning are truly valued by others (I could go on and on here...).

And as for the effect edu-blogging has had for me on a professional level.... the connections with wonderful and talented educators I have made across the globe speak for themselves! I have grown through sharing my learning and ideas, become more confident in my "online life" and clarified, enhanced and cemented my ideas and thoughts. However, most importantly I have come to the understanding that even 'little-old-me' has something to give and share with the world that is of use to others:)

So "Happy Blogiversary" to you all!
[You can read the rest of the Wall St. article here where they interview people from all walks of life about their favourite blogs and the role of blogs in their lives]

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Saturday, 14 July 2007

And I am gobsmacked...

(Please excuse the late posting of this... it was hiding as a 'draft' when I'm sure I published it!!)
Last night, at a very small cocktail bar in town, started out so well... and ended up with me ranting and raving to Lewis (my husband) all the way home!

I met up with a friend I've known since high school and she brought along her brother (to be named "X") who's currently studying a Bachelor of Computer Science at a NZ University. Eventually the conversation turned to him and his studies and I expressed and interest in what his qualification was teaching him (javascript, CSS etc).

But the conversation turned when I mentioned blogging, podcasting, use of wikis and skype etc in education.

And the response.... you would have honestly thought I'd just invented the concept of educational blogging, podcasting etc!!

His first reaction was "What! for recreation and leisure??" to which I answered "No.... for education and learning".

Hmmm... this did not go down well!

To X's credit I WAS given a few minutes to justify my use of these "silly" tools... and he listened politely.... but nothing I could say could convince! I listed benefits, gave examples and really got on my high horse.... to no avail.

I was just banging my head against a closed door.

This really got me thinking on the way home (out loud unfortunately for my hubby) .... do lots of the computer 'geeks' of the world think blogging etc is just the people's way of ranting and raving about useless, unintelligent subjects.... or are they just unhappy that the web has opened up to the ordinary Joe or Josephine of the world???

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On a journey to ULearn

The countdown to ULearn 07 is on: from 3rd to 5th October in Auckland.

I am excited to have been selected to facilitate two workshops: "So you've got a blog - now what??" and "They're FREE and on the Internet: Harnessing the power of educational games using social bookmarking".

I'm also delighted to see other great educators I know who are also presenting workshops - Allanah, Jane, Simon, Suzi and many others! It will be great to meet F2F many of these educators that I know well through reading their edublogs.

Highlights I am looking forwards to at ULearn07 would have to be the keynote by Ewan McIntosh from Scotland (who's blog I have been reading for a little while now) and the Bloggers Cafe that Jane suggested!!

See you there :)

Thursday, 12 July 2007

WOW2 close to home

School holidays are great!

I raced home yesterday to listen to my first WOW2 show (I managed to catch the last 1/2 hour) - and a show very close to home indeed - "Over the top Educators from Down Under"

Featured speakers were:
Graham Wegner - Teaching Generation Z - Judy O’Connell-Hey Jude, Jo McLeay - The Open Classroom - and Jason Hando - Clever Learning.

Women of Web 2.0 (WOW2) is run by Cheryl Oakes, Jennifer Wagner, Sharon Peters, & Vicki Davis. Show topics vary and there is always great speakers featured as well as WOW sites to check out.

It was great to hear the aussie accents and the chat function that we had going on was great to be apart of. I "met" many educators whose blogs or wikis I have been frequenting for some time now.

Many thanks to Chrissy - Teaching Sagittarian for posting the NZ time (1pm Wed) of the show as I needed that prompt to ensure I was around. I am now going to use Time Zone Converter on the World Clock site whenever I need to convert an overseas location time into NZ time.

I am also going to try and listen to the first half of the show each Wednesday during lunchtimes when school is on... what a great idea Chrissy!

To catch up with the show check out the recording here and go here to find out about future shows.

PS - is this the part where I admit to being born in Australia and actually living there for 14 years??!!

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Monday, 9 July 2007

A 7 year old and SKYPE!

Today I sneaked back into my classroom to grab my school computer (PC). While there I took a quick glance through a few of my students' books... namely their reflective journals (these records of their learning are often shared and are not private).

This short piece of reflective writing stood out to me:

"Today I learned that a class can talk to another class in New Zealand or in a different country using a computer."

See... a 7 year old can understand the power of Skype to enable communication with others within New Zealand, or indeed worldwide!

We have been using Skype to communicate with our Auckland buddies who are our EXPERTS on reducing, reusing and recycling which is the topic we are learning about.

We have had many 'dry run' Skype calls with our buddies during lunchtimes over the past 2 weeks (in preparation and sorting tech probs) and many students have enjoyed dropping in to have a quick chat and to check out the action.

Our first "official" Skype call took place last week (our last week of Term 2) and proved a bit of a technical nightmare. Skype was thoroughly overloaded and neither party could place a call all morning long. Marnie and I even had to resort to cell phone calls to each other to see what the problems were!

The afternoon proved better (probably the rest of the world was asleep) but the connection was still not great and our buddies couldn't hear everything- so we just had to do an "introductions" session. Bless these students who are so adaptable... they threw away their pre-planned questions and found something to talk about!

We are looking forwards next term to asking our experts all of our questions we have about reducing, reusing and recycling... their school is Gold Enviro Award winners and definitely EXPERTS on this. We have lots to learn!

It seems in NZ the afternoon is the best time to use Skype due to less people being online. Has anyone else found this?

Enjoy this video if you're interested - highlights of the "introductions" between our classes of 6 & 7 year olds!

Thanks Marnie for all your patience... I look forwards to linking up again and hope Skype will cooperate this time :)

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

NZ Teacher Trainees need YOUR HELP!

Through my presentations on Time4Online and on TeacherTube I have reconnected with my lecturer/teacher of I.C.T. from Christchurch College of Education that I had when I trained to be a teacher!

She taught me a lot about the basics of HTML, webpage creation and webquests; knowledge and skill of which was instrumental when I first started edublogging and blogging with my class @ Mapua School last year... Before the "new blogger" I was SO grateful to have that knowledge of HTML so I could "pimp", format and make my blogs exactly how I wanted them to be.

It was nice to know that Di has put my presentations on the College Intranet for teacher trainees to see an example of what a current classroom teacher is doing. However, she had an important question to ask of me:
"Did you find that the IT stuff did help with integrating ICT when you became a classroom teacher? What other things do you suggest we do with our students?"
My teacher training in ICT was really good, I believe (for the time), I had a good general computer knowledge and a great bag of skills on various programmes. I had millions of ideas on how I was going to integrate I.C.T. into my classroom programmes... and that I did.

When I look back at my last 5 years of teaching; the things I am doing with my class today is (thankfully!) VERY different to what I was doing four or five years ago... you could say I have learned a few tricks on the way!

With the way that technology is rapidly changing "What other things do you suggest we do with our students?" is a difficult question to answer. We can't just teach our teacher trainees how to use 'programmes' any longer, nor can we soley teach them specific web2.0 applications/tools because by the time they graduate and actually get to use those tools in the classroom things will have moved on yet again!

Please post any ideas/suggestions you have in the comments below.
I have emailed Di and said I would leverage the power of "the experts" (you guys!) and know that she would be very grateful for your ideas... these can be used to further develop teacher training in NZ.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

How addicted to blogging are you?

So how addicted are you?
What if you had to put it into a percentage?
What would be your blogging addiction %?

Just for fun, try this site, I was very pleased at the outcome for me (glad it wasn't 100%!) and was able to happily wave the results under a very surprised husband's nose!

80%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

One Simple way to motivate...

Isn't it funny how you don't realise that something you've naturally implemented in your classroom for sometime could be of use to others?

Just last week a teacher @ work came into my classroom and noticed our "How many hits on our class blog?" poster that we have been using for at least the past two months. She instantly wanted to do this in her class too .... something I'd not yet considered as the idea didn't seem too innovative or new to me.

So I thought I'd make a mention of it here for any of you that also might find it useful!
It's not technologically flash, but it IS particularly useful if your students don't have a lot of access to computers on a daily basis
(like in my classroom - we only have one class computer to use daily).

How to motivate your class' blogging: one simple way

In my classroom each week students take on jobs around the classroom, we call them "responsibilities"... and one of these is the "Hit Counter Monitors".

These two children are in charge of monitoring the hit counter twice a day (once in morning at start of school, once in afternoon just before end of school) for the entire week.

So for their job they have to log onto the blog and check our hit counter in the sidebar. Then they use the numerals to make the number on our chart so the whole class can see. (see this example from just before we got 2,000 hits a month or so ago)

Every 2,000 hits we have a big class party so the class is very eager to see the numbers of hits climb.

Each morning we examine our new number and work out how many more hits we need until we reach our target by adding in parts up to the nearest 10, then 100 etc (see me sneaking in a bit of maths there!). At the moment we are trying to make it until 4,000 to reach our next class party.

For my class, this is a brilliant motivator for our blogging, (along with all the marvelous comments we get) on a daily basis where not all students have access to the computer at school on that particular day - it helps them to still stay in touch with the happenings.

... it shows these 6 & 7 year olds that people ARE actually visiting and reading their work... that they ARE reaching a real life audience and that their learning, thoughts and experiences really IS valued!

If you think this might be beneficial in your class, you can download a PDF copy of the poster I use and the numbers to stick on from below.
Download "How Many Hits on our Class Blog?" poster
Download "Numbers for How Many Hits" poster

Monday, 2 July 2007

You Tube and PD

Holiday time... and I have not much planned.... a truly marvelous feeling.

So far I have enjoyed a few geeky pleasures like joining Facebook (after receiving my 4th invite from friends) and finally becoming a Second Life member (KatarinaMay Capalini) although I haven't yet logged on properly to SL. Allanah warns me that I may spend a wee while in SL bumping into walls and doorways so I am saving that pleasure for later on this week!

Something I am currently working on at the moment is our ICT Cluster website (on Centre4) where I am an administrator. I found a neat flash widget that lets you display your You Tube playlist that I have added to the front of our cluster page.

So, for the past week I have been searching for those MUST SEE You Tube videos that would be good for either motivational/inspirational/instructional PD purposes for teachers in my cluster.

These are the ones I've got so far:

The my newest vid being this one I found today on Suzie's Cluster Blog... a very entertaining look at blogs vs wikis!

I'd love to hear if you have any other ideas for You Tube videos that I should add to the growing collection!