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Blagging blogging

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A guide to creating blogs for use in a school department/faculty, with classes and to showcase and develop your own teaching resources.

A guide to creating blogs for use in a school department/faculty, with classes and to showcase and develop your own teaching resources.

Published in: Education, Technology

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  • 1. Jenny Turner - @msmfl - msmfl.wordpress.com Blogging 101 BLAGGING BLOGGING How to make and curate blogs for use in MFL lessons IF YOU CAN SEND AN EMAIL, YOU CAN BLOG! Amongst the many free blogging sites, posterous.com is probably the most suitable for school use as it allows unlimited sub-blogs, each of which can be password protected with a different password, thereby ensuring a level of online security suitable for school. (It’s also dead simple to use and looks pretty too!) Easy Start Guide: Blogs are great. They really The main types of blogsare. And they’re free, easy and considered here are: 1. www.posterous.com 2. Create username, name of blogstudent-proof (most of the and a password (for your use)time. This guide will show you 1. Department/Faculty 3. Posterous Spaces > Space Settings > Privacy > Edit >how to make the best of blogs (open access to all Password protectblogging to enhance your and sundry) 4. Look and Feel > Edit Themeteaching and quite probably Ready to go!also the profile of your 2. Class blogs (passworddepartment/faculty. All you will Post to your blog by sending an protected to allow access email from your registered emailneed to do is to keep up with address to: to certain classes/groups/the posting to ensure the nameofblog@posterous.comcontent is up-to-date, relevant clubs only) Attach files (images, pdfs, word,and interesting to make audio, video etc) onto your emailstudents, parents, other 3. Personal teacher blogs and they automatically appear on your post.teachers and your millions of (putting yourself out intoworldwide fans keep on cyberspace!) Autopost to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and many others to createcoming back for more. an instant online social presence. Best Posterous/school blogging links - ★ Joe Dale: http://tinyurl.com/joedale-posterous ★ Setting up a moderated class blog with Posterous: http://tinyurl.com/brr58bn ★ Primary Pete: http://tinyurl.com/cvzts4m ★ Richard Byrne: http://tinyurl.com/cvzts4m [1]
  • 2. Making a Departmental / Faculty BlogFACULTY BLOGGING Static webpages are fairly cumbersome to update, which is why a departmental blogsite which can be updated instantly and by email and by several people at any time is likely to be a more interesting option for departments/faculties. You could include up-to-date news on events in the faculty, trips, photos of lessons, activities or projects, videos of recent things going on, lots and lots of lovely links, course resources, letters home, revision literature...the list is endless. Ideally, a Faculty blog should be open access so that anyone can view it, so you would need to take into account child protection issues, such as not naming children or PDFs, Word docs, publishing work from students without specific permission from parents, but you PPTs...pretty any should be guided by your school’s e-safety / child protection policy. type of file shows up in full and can Separate pages can be created which could include contact details for staff easily be members, course/exam board information, trip information, project information, downloaded or calendars and so on printed out. Only the main blog page is the one which is updated through normal blogging: any other page remains static and has to be updated through the posterous website, but you can add documents and photos etc to be shown on those pages too. Make sure that there is a link to the Faculty blog from the main school website and/or main MFL page on the school website and publicise the blogsite to students and parents. If you are feeling brave and your e-safety etc policies allow, you could also create a Twitter account, Facebook Fan Page (no need to befriend students!) a Flickr (photosharing) site and a YouTube site for your Faculty. If you set the posterous to autopost to each of these, then each time you post onto the blog, it will automatically Create a calendar update the others, therefore students (and parents) who are are more likely to be on page by embedding Facebook than anything else will get instant updates into their feeds of what is going a Google calendar on in the department. with important Faculty and school dates into a Main things to consider: separate Calendar ★staff to be contributors page. ★open access ★autopost to other social networking sites ★check your e-safety policy (or write one yourself!) ★check permissions from parents ★get yourself linked to other MFL blogs ★list of useful links ★clear and easy to read theme - ensure it is accessible to all. Just one example of a Dept blog….(still a work in progress!) Create links to other sites of use to your readers and other blog sites. Interlink the blogs in this way so there is no excuse for students not being able to find the blog(s)! http://stowmarketmfl.posterous.com [2]
  • 3. Class blogging CLASS BLOGGING This is perhaps the most exciting (and 1. Copy the html/embed codetroublesome!) part of blogging at school: getting thestudents involved. They can develop their ICT andonline awareness through posting to the private blogand sharing and communicating with each otherthrough it. You can create an unlimited number of sub-blogs linked to your same email account for classes,groups or clubs. These should ideally be password -protected to enable a degree of online security for thestudents and their work. 2. Create a post on your blog I learned fast to provide a slip/sticker to on the webpage, click the smallstudents with the blog address, their email address blue HTML square and paste theand the blog password which they could then put into code into the box. Go back to Add students in a classtheir planners/exercise books. the ‘normal’ post. using their school email Keyword tags are very helpful in organising a address as ‘contributors’large number of posts (see the sidebar for examples) and ensure they get dailyand when students post, they should include tags in email updates, otherwisetheir email. In the subject line after the blog title, they will be inundatedsimply type: ((tag1; tag2)) e.g. ((resources; grammar)) with emails. .and posterous should do the rest. Watch out for thedouble brackets and the semi colon. You need notlimited yourself to just two tags, as long as you use asemi-colon after each! Embedding code from other online providers 3. The code becomes a gamecan prove to be very worthwhile. Most online tools which can be played directlyhave an embed code which is usually found under through the blog page!‘share’ options. There are zillions of web games,tools, functions and gizmos which have an embedcode. Copy and paste the code into the HTML part ofthe web posting interface. The content will workdirectly from the final post, so it’s great for games. Try embedding a game from www.zondle.net Train students to taginto your class blog: it also keeps track of class their work with theirscores for you and emails you at the end of a names, and make sure youspecified time period a leaderboard! You will need to tags your posts withsign up for it first - it’s free. keywords. This makes hunting for homework and Setting posts about specific homework and topics much easier! embedding content Mark and provide feedback online - but don’t forget that it will be visible to all who has access to the blog. Encourage students to collaborate and feedback to each other by using the blog comment functions. They should be logged in (with their registered email address) to do this so that no comments are anonymous. [3]
  • 4. msmfl.wordpress.com OK, so I’m cheating a bit by not using posterous, but wordpress is a lot more versatile for my own blogsite as it allows me to add widgets and gizmos to my blog much more easily than posterous. Your own teaching blog: ideas, resources, links, thoughts, projects, connections….. 1.On trips, projects, days out etc, get students to email photos/text What next? from their phones to the blog to provide a running commentary of events. 2. Blog with primary schools to help improve transition and give an So you have your Faculty blogging and your classes idea of what MFL teaching at big school is like. Older students couldblogging. You may even have convinced other colleagues in other blog videos teaching younger ones some language.faculties to blog as well. You might be blogging with schools and 3. Create project blogs. We have separate ones for Languagesclasses around the world, or you might be blogging about trips Challenge and Languages Leaders Award programmes.and projects with parents. What’s left? You! By making a blog, 4.Create speaking/video diaries: students record/film themselves onlinking with other teachers on twitter (#mfltwitterati) and sharing their mobiles and blog the audio /video files on a regular basis asyour ideas, resources and projects, you will find so much to enrich homework to track speaking progress.your own teaching. 5.Your MFLAs could put together a series on online resources about Yo may prefer to use other blog providers for your own their region, together with audio/video of them speaking. 6. Revision / lesson resources - simply attach the relevant files topersonal blog: I found that the gizmos that I wanted on my blog your email. Great if you can train the students to access the blog if theywere very fiddly to get into posterous. It’s possible, but they need are absent from your lesson and saves a lot of running around withan advanced knowledge of HTML programming and this is quite photocopied sheets.time consuming if, like me, you had to start from the beginning! 7. Create a free embeddable forum for FAQs, discussions and Suggested providers with no preference intended or specified parental contact with www.nabble.com. Also, get instant student/are: parental responses to letters etc by embedding Google Forms or ★ edublogs.com another survey tool into a blog post. ★ wordpress.com 8. Collaborate with another class in another country on the same ★ blogger.com project - work together and communicate through the blog. ★ tumblr.com 10 ideas to kick 9. Film and music reviews - together with a link to the film, trailer, start your blog clips, music and online research. ★ typepad.com 10. Create QR codes which link to your blog posts; put posters of the QR code square (and no other info) around school and watch the interest they generate. BEST OF CLASS BLOGGING: QUADBLOGGING.NET VOKI.COM IPADIO.COM YOUTUBE.COM Sign your blog up Create an avatar Register for free Paste a youtube to be ‘twinned’ and make it speak and download an link into your with three other with your voice or app to record email or web post school blogs: with it’s audio. You can set and posterous will share experiences, automatic voices! files to automatically comment on each Embed the code automatically convert it to play other’s work, into your post. upload or you can on your blog. learn about the Great for a bit of embed them. Great Great for sharing world... We are fun and for instant class work with twinned with creativity. sharing of audio parents! Manchester, Students can made in the Virginia (USA) and comment and classroom and for Bangkok, Thailand. feedback on each listening exercise It need not be MFL other. homework. related. [4]