Review of a number of blogging platforms.

So having set up our own wordpress blogs we were now assigned the group task of reviewing other blogging platforms for educational purposes. We were divided into three groups and were each given a different blogging platform to review. They were 21 Classes, Weebly and Kidblog.

21 Classes
This blog allows a teacher to set up their own blog and then add students to the blog. Students are able to post their work to the blog or make comments however the teacher has control over what work gets published to the blog. This is a good feature of this blog as in a classroom setting it is very important for the teacher to remain in control at all times. As well as controlling what is published on the teachers blog the teacher can also access the students blogs and block any content they feel is not appropriate. The teacher can also sent students a warning. This blogging platform seems to be a safe

Teachers can also block and access his/her students blog at any time. This is an excellent feature as it confirms the safety of the student and his/her online antics. Teachers are able to access exactly what a student has written, and as the administrator can choose whether what the student has written will stay online or will be deleted. Student accounts can also be deleted at any time, or given an online warning which the teacher can set up. This is a very private, and safe form of blogging. The students have virtually no power to mess on this blogging platform.

While this platform seems to be very safety conscious there were a number of difficulties with it. The default settings for the student blogs are difficult to work through in order to be linked to the teachers blog which is not ideal.

In conclusion, this blogging platform is difficult to use, it is not free, it is not student friendly and is also very time consuming. The safety features mean that student cannot step out of line however with all the negatives this blogging platform gets the thumbs down!

Weebly

Weebly is another blogging platform that allows the teacher to set up a classroom blog which the students can submit work to. This site appeared to be much easier to use and more student friendly. Having heard the group reviewing it talk so highly of it I actually went and set up my own weebly website which I am currently working on. I am adding English resources and lesson ideas and tips to it with the end goal of having all of my own English resources easily available to me and others online. It is still a work in progress however as soon as it has a more finished appearance to it I will publish it for all to see. It was very easy to set up and to build the website as are the teacher/student blogs. It has a very simple click and drag toolbar that allows you to insert text, images, slideshows, maps, search box, files, links to social networks and so on.

Weebly is very easy to use and is much more student friendly. Weebly gets a big thumbs up.

Kidblog

Kidblog was our groups blogging platform review. Alan set himself up as a teacher on the site and set the remaining members of the group up as students. He used our email addresses to set us up. We did not receive an email to let us know we had been set up as a student. When I went to set up my own class as a teacher I was not able to because my email was already in use as a student. I was able to post a blog onto the site without any review by Alan which I assume was down to the particular settings he had in place. The site seems to be fairly basic and quite similar to wordpress. There did not appear to be any advertising on the site which I think is a good thing for a classroom blog.

Main benefit:

Basic, easy to use as a student.

Main drawback:

No email notifications when teacher posts to the site.

This blogging platforms was a bit dull and not as safe as others appeared to be. For these reasons we gave kidblog a thumbs down.

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If at 1st you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again!! There’s a song in that!! http://youtu.be/xcIvIladNnQ

So my blog a day didn’t really work but I believe in the phrase ‘quality not quantity’!!

To pick up where I left off…..Web 2.0!

Our second lecture brought with it our introduction to blogging, hurrah! In all seriousness, blogs are an excellent way of interacting online in a quick and easy way. A blog (for those of you who don’t know) is a form of online diary or journal that records entries in reverse chronological order. Many different people chose to write blobs and for many different reasons including, personal, professional and educational.

Blogs can be used to great effect in education. A school can set up their own blog which can be a very interactive way of communicating everything that’s happening in the school. Teachers and departments within a school can also use blogs very effectively for sharing resources and continuous professional development. http://loretonavanenglish.blogspot.ie/

Another form of blogging for educational purposes could involve setting up a class blog where students would contribute their work to the blog. Some examples of student participation can be seen at the following link https://chapterbychapter.21classes.com/

There are many different blogging platforms you can use to set up your blog. Some of the most popular ones include:

  • blogger
  • tumblr
  • wordpress

We opted to set up a wordpress blog as it is very easy to use. With this blogging platform you can either just use it by going to the website or you can download it. On this blog you can have posts and there are also pages. Widgets are additional add ons to your page that can be things such as a calendar or a count down timer to a specific date. it can be a link to your facebook or twitter page. With wordpress you can have multiple users with different levels of access. WordPress allows you to upload images, videos and links to websites very easily.

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What is WEB 2.0?

I figured that the best place to start with my ‘blog a day’ plan is at the very beginning! There’s a song in that! So looking back to our first lecture in web 2.0 we looked at some of the functions of ICT in schools including pedagogical, economic/vocational, social and life-long learning. We all need to have an understanding of todays advancing technology in order to participate fully in society. We looked at terms such as digital divide, digital natives and digital immigrants and we also looked at the technological environment into which todays teenagers were born and raised. Todays teens are much more IT literate than the generation before and it is vital for parents and educators to educate themselves in order to keep up to speed with students. With the planned changes to the Junior Cycle Curriculum it is vital for teachers to engage in continuous professional development to provide their student with the best possible opportunities in the area of ICT.

So what is Web 2.0? Web 2.0 is a term coined by Tim O’Reilly which explains the move from the webs function as an information based medium to an interactive based medium. So instead of the internet users looking up information online they are now able to contribute their own ideas online also. The following video highlights the difference between web 1.0 and web 2.0.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iStkxcK6_vY

 

 

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A Blog A Day, keeps (me up late at night!!)

OK! So I started this blog as part of my masters module in web 2.0 back in September. As is probably evident from my fairly limited number of blog posts I haven’t exactly put my whole heart into it to date. There are a couple of reasons for this and I will briefly outline them now.

1. My laptop is a piece of junk and simply turning it on causes me actual physical pain. As per my blog dated 15th October I have ordered a very trendy and fairly nifty piece of kit, the Microsoft Surface RT which very irritatingly still hasn’t arrived!!

2. I live in the wilderness and my O2 student internet tongle really isn’t up to the job. I have to go to a specific part of the kitchen to just answer the phone so needless to say my internet connection is virtually non-existent. 

3. I’m not the most I.T. literate person in the world (probably why I chose web 2.0 as a module)!

4. Blogging seems a bit more formal than other forms of social media and it makes me cringe thinking that someone would read something I wrote and take it seriously.

But enough of the excuses, I need to bridge this digital divide and move from the realm of digital immigrant to, at the very least, digital competence!

So with the dawning of a new month I am setting myself a challenge……don don don…..to blog every day about something I.T./ masters related. 

Say a prayer my new tablet arrives soon or this could be a momentous failure!!

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People!

Might be worth a lookif you’re goibig for an interview!

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Does publishing league tables improve schools?

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Technology means we are never free of work?

I just read this interesting article by Fintan O’Toole in the Irish Times today about how technology has blurred the lines between work time and personal time and how being a workaholic is now seen to be a good thing.  ‘The lines between working and not working, between office and home, have become almost invisible. The office is everywhere: in the house, in the car, up a mountain.’ Fintan O’Toole

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/technology-has-not-created-leisure-but-the-sense-of-never-being-free-of-work-1.1606937?page=1

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