Blogging is a powerful tool that allows people to share opinions ad reflections instantly, and add content incrementally over time.
You can use blogs to:
- Get students to practice using specialist language.
Reflect on learning in class.
Write episodic stories
Keep in contact with penpals or foreign language students.
Update with progress on a long term project, eg design project.
How do I set up a blog?
Go to www.blogspot.com
Register the service using an email address.
Choose a memorable and meaningful address for your blog.
-Write your first blog post
Blogging in balance + Excellent way of sharing thoughts, reflections, extended writing, current projects, aspirations and social commentary with others. It’s very easy to do once you have set up a profile and chosen a theme or look for a blog. You can e-mail updates to your blog rather than logging in if you you’re in a hurry. - Blogs need to be updated and maintained regularly. Poorly written, spellchecked and formatted blogs reflect badly on the school community – make sure there are high expectations for outward facing sites. Many blogs are sources of opinion rather than fact. Do your students understand the difference?
Tumblr is similar to a blog, but allows a greater variety of media.
Sometimes called ‘microblogging’, Tumblr is a halfway between blogging and a social networking site, like facebook
How do I use it?
Make a tumblr blog for your curriculum area/exchange trip/sports team/after school club. Update it with news/events.
Get students to post homework tasks on their own tumblr.
How do I set up a Tumblr Blog?
Go to www.tumblr.com .
Register the service using your email address.
Choose a memorable and meaningful web address for your blog.
Write your first blog post.
Good examples at Tallis:
Tumblr in balance + It’s free to get an account. Most of year 8/9 should have a tumblr already from Tallis Lab. Students/teachers can assemble a great looking blog very easily, just using pre-built themes. You can search and connect with similar blogs / bloggers. Their updates will feed in to your own blog. It can be updated from mobile phones by text or email. - Tumblrs need to be maintained and updated with content in order for students to see the benefits of using them. Be aware that students will be able to search all of tumblr – some blogs out there contain some questionable content.
Etherpad Why should I use it? Imagine being able to write a word document together with up to 10 people at the same time. Etherpad allows collaborative document editing. It can be used in many ways: -Collaborative storywriting -Whole class feedback -Correcting / Marking work -Writing student markschemes Have a go at it here .
How do I use it in class?
-Go to www.etherpad.com and ‘set up a public pad’. This will give you a URL that you can share with students.
They will be able to add, format and delete any text in the main window.
Each person has a different colour that they edit with, so you can track changes.
Recommend using www.tinyurl.com to shorten the URLS that etherpad produces.
Etherpad in balance + Incredibly powerful – seeing it work ‘live’ with multiple users is amazing . Allows tracking of edits that particular users have made using colours. Collaborative storywriting is a joy. Great for collaborative editing of docs for teachers could be used to refine a document like a DIP. - Etherpad requires a fast internet connection. The school wireless connection can’t always keep up with it. You have to share the EXACT URL that you get sent, otherwise students won’t be able to edit the document. (Use www.tinyurl.com to distribute it instead) The teacher needs to be on the ball, to track changes, and watch out for smart alecs.
Vocaroo What is it? Vocaroo is a quick and easy way to record audio through the microphone. When you have recorded, you can embed the audio file in your blog or tumblr.
How do I use it?
Go to www.vocaroo.com and click on ‘record sound’.
Click ‘Stop recording’
You can play the file back using the play button.
- Click on ‘Send to a a friend’ to email to anyone’
Even better, you can embed the vocaroo in a tumblr, blog or word document, wallwisher etc.
How would students make use of it? Since you can record and share easily with vocaroo, students could: -Reflect on learning into the mic, and post it onto a blog, or their facebook. -Practice pronunciation of new vocabulary used in context.
Vocaroo in balance + Quick and really simple to use. Being able to embed the sound in a website is really useful. Has a wide range of uses. Students could record short stories, speak other languages, sing, or answer a homework question. - Sound Quality is LOW. It’s not great for music. Audioboo has better sound quality. Needs a microphone to work – many school desktop computers won’t have one.
Wallwisher What is it? Wallwisher is an online noticeboard that people can add sticky notes to. These sticky notes can be media-rich, and can have text How do I use it? -Go to www.wallwisher.com and click on ‘build wall’ -Choose a URL, background, name and picture for your wall, and add some instructions for students. -Share the web address with students and let it unfold!
How would students make use of it?
- Whole class feedback in a discussion.
Documenting a design process.
Homework tasks – ‘ Research Buckyballs and post your findings on wallwisher ’.
Ask students to put statements on a spectrum from Strongly agree to strongly disagree and canvass opinion.
Try this special example wall
How has it been used already? http://www.wallwisher.com/wall/year13DNA http://www.wallwisher.com/wall/9pmtallislablearning http://www.wallwisher.com/wall/enthalpy
Wallwisher in balance + Free to sign up for and use. A good way of setting research homework (especially at A-Level) Produces useful multimedia-rich resources, and is a great way to share. Students can rate or organise stickies on the wall by position. - Older Browsers such as IE6 not supported. You may have to administrate the wall, and check for inappropriate language or content on the wall. Doing it with real sticky notes in a lesson is fun and gets kids moving about and thinking too.
Social Networking – Facebook and Twitter Facebook stops them from doing real work! Whilst Facebook is often a distraction for students, you can get them to use it in the context of learning. Bear in mind that adding students as friends to your own personal account is professionally questionable. Businesses and charities have facebook profiles too – they can be a good source of information for research. It’s ubiquitous – How many people do you know who don’t use facebook? Twitter is social networking reduced to a bare minimum. It is a site that lets you post 140 character updates to a website, that is broadcast to the world. It’s a great way to share updates and network with other people, as you can follow users with similar interests. Twitter is updated instantly, and can be search, so it is a great way of finding current trends/news/opinions in real time, faster than news networks can.
How can I use social networking for learning? Facebook -Students can set up common interest groups between themselves, and test public opinion. -Students can collaborate online sharing photos or using the chat options. -Get students to ask questions in their status updates, or put them in another language. Twitter -Get students to ‘tweet’ in character if they are studying texts. -Get students to ask questions via twitter. -Get students to follow interesting people. http://twitter.com/SamuelPepys http://twitter.com/BARACKOBAMA http://twitter.com/BBCNews http://twitter.com/_Steviewonder
Both of these are outward-facing sites. Preserve your students anonymity where possible.
They will be able to be contacted by any members of the public if they set up public groups/twitter accounts. And they will be able to see any shared information.
The internet public tend to be weird and opinionated, and may post /inappropriate things onto their profiles.
Wordle What is a flipping Wordle? It’s a website that takes a bunch of words that you paste into a box, and generates a beautiful word cloud from the text. You can edit the look of your wordle afterwards. http://www.wordle.net/create
How could I use it in class?
Analyse different texts for vocabulary usage.
Paste a student’s story and look at their use of connectives.
Compare different authors’ use of language.
Students make word clouds of skills used.
Catalogue new vocabulary learned in a module.
Wordle in balance + Free, quick and easy to make a wordle. Allows students of all ability to generate incredible pieces of word-art. Gives you a lot of control over how your wordle is generated/coloured. Versatile – it has applications across all curriculum areas. - It’s not simple to get an image of a wordle without taking screen grabs and pasting them into photoshop. Computers need to have java installed (most of the school ones do now). It doesn’t automatically check spellings.
Google Docs What is it? It’s a way of editing, storing and sharing documents online, without the need for MS Office software. Why bother when I have Office Already? -It’s free, and can be accessed from anywhere you have a internet connection. -You can share documents without e-mailing them -Many people can edit the same document at the same time .
Ways to use Google Documents How can we make the best use of it? You and your students will need a free login Sharing – Google docs makes it incredibly easy to share documents with others, and let them collaborate at the same time. Questionnaires or Forms – These are easy to set up and students can quickly share them in order to gather opinions quickly from a wide range of people. Online Storage Google docs lets you upload any type of document. Use it like an online hard-drive, and get students to do the same – No more ‘forgot my usb’ moments! What kinds of documents can you create? - Word documents - Questionnaires - Presentations -Spreadsheets Try editing this story here to get a feel for how it works.
Google docs in balance + It’s free to get an account. You can import existing MS Office/iwork documents straight into google docs. It makes collaborating on documents easy to do. You/Students can use it as a online hard drive and store ~1GB online. All students in year 8 and 9 will already have a google docs account from Tallis Lab that they can use. - No internet connection = No access to documents. Forgotten passwords = No access to documents.
A tool that lets you fly around 3D satellite imagery of Earth, as well as the surface of the moon, and the constellations in the sky.
How could we use it in class?
Students can familiarise themselves with a place for location-based work.
Go on virtual ‘holidays’ to different countries.
Students can record their own tours and add audio, pictures and video to them.
Follow a travelogue or travellers diary.
Attach photos, audio, stories to placemarks for field trips, school journeys, sports days etc.
Where do I get it? Download it from http://earth.google.com Install it on your computer and use the search bar to find things. You can search by keyword, postcode, latitude and longitude. Try this for storytelling Try this for tours.
Google Earth in balance + Incredible visual stimulus for lessons. A real ice breaker and discussion generator. New tools for recording audio and annotating tours in Google Earth mean that it’s a powerful way of making media-rich maps. The various data layers are an excellent information resource for all sorts of work. - Google Earth isn’t yet installed on most of the school computers. It needs a fast data connection in order to stream the data. Mini laptops can run Google Earth, but most of the school eeePCs won’t.
Visual Thesaurus What is it? Just like a thesaurus, but it shows connected words in a web, so it’s a way of visualising how words are connected together, and how they are grouped. How do I use it? -In MFL to find related words in a different language. -Get students to find suitable replacements for a verb in a piece of work. -Students can search it for word meanings as well. -You can print out the webs so students can include them in workbooks, portfolios. How do I search it? Use the search bar. As a standalone resource, Visual thesaurus can be searched in English, French, German and Spanish for related words. The Visual Thesaurus toolbar can be added simply to igoogle, or a widget can be embedded on a blog or homepage.
Youtube What is it? I’m sure you already know how to search youtube . How do I use it? -Search it for relevant videos to a particular topic in class or get students to find related videos for homework assignments. Even better Get students to make their own films and upload them to a youtube channel. -Make a departmental login. Film students. Upload films and share. See what can be done Youtube Tips Tag your videos with keywords when uploading to make finding them easier Watch videos before searching in lessons! YouTube comments can be banal, offensive, and even racist. Make you moderate or disallow commenting. Check you have parental permission before uploading videos of students.
Alright - Stop, Evaluate and Listen! What did you think of the session? In order to give your opinion of how useful this session was, please complete this quick questionnaire (made in google docs) Go to http://www.wordle.net/create Create a wordle of adjectives that you would use to describe this session.