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My ideas for using ICT at school

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Blogging Masterclass | #SBMC11

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Blogging Conference

John Sutton preparing to introduce the conference

On December 7 2012 I attended a Blogging Masterclass held by Creative Blogs, who are on a mission to encourage the whole world to blog!  Apologies for the lateness for this post, but with a busy end of term and indeed, start of year, I have not had the time to write one.

In the Spring I wrote a post about the previous conference held by Creative Blogs.  Presenting this time were:

I attended the conference with two of my colleagues from the Infant and Junior School, so all three campuses were represented.

Richard Shaw & Richard Miller

The main benefit of blogging for schools is to create an audience and by doing so increase literacy skills.  David Mitchell showed us evidence of this from his school’s experience (Heathfield Primary School) .

These are the notes and ideas I had resulting from the conference:

  1. Windows MovieMaker was suggested as good free software for enabling editing of videos before uploading to a blog.
  2. Critics of allowing students to be responsible for their own input onto school blogs were reminded that Wikipedia and the Encyclopaedia Britannica contain the same amount of errors!  I am not convinced!
  3. Before even embarking on a blog for your class/subject; you need to be very clear what your purpose is.  This sounds obvious, but if you rush in blindly, it can end up being rather a “mishmash”   What do you want from blogging? What do you perceive as the benefits for the students?  Is it going to be a diary, collection of work, entirely text based or using web 2.0 resources.
  4. The advantages of utilising a blog for your class, can mean that otherwise unrecognised potential can shine.   Also, links can be made with the real world, authors and can even be commented on by international experts.  In one instance a class were asked to write a project on a certain primate, this was picked up by an expert in the field in South America who commented on what they had written.
  5. It is important to put links to other resources on your blog so that students can see the bigger picture.
  6. It is possible to put work on your blog from all stages of the creative process.  Progress can then be seen from “draft” to finished article.
  7. Anthologize can be used to create a book from blog posts and you can import content also from other sources.  This could be a lovely keepsake at the end of a school year.

The day was packed with ideas and I am sure I have missed some,  so if you click on the photo, you will find the the presentations online for you to see too.


Written by sammi

January 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Posted in blogging, School Blogs

Tagged with

Chorlton ICT Spring Conference 25 March 2011

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Peter Ford

On Friday I travelled up to Chorlton Park Primary School, Chorlton cum Hardy in Manchester for the Chorlton ICT Spring Conference #CISC.  The presenters were:

  • Bill Lord
  • David Mitchell
  • John Sutton
  • Matt Woods
  • Peter Ford
  • I went with two other members of staff; Anthony Simpson, Head of ICT and Rachel Slater, Head of English from Nottingham High Junior School.  We had a thought-provoking and inspiring day.  The ideas that appealed to me were:

    • “playful” learning to improve literacy levels
    • using student mentors for non-geeky staff – but a good idea all round I think
    • classroom tweeting Year 1 upwards – e.g. @giraffeclass
    • peer assessment via comments – train the students to make good comments using constructive criticism
    • using book reviews at http://abookaday.posterous.com/ – although I need more information on how this works in practice
    • Quadblogging to increase the blogs’ audience – classes are grouped in fours where one class is the focus each week
    • CoverItLive as a simpler more practical alternative to video conferencing – this could be brilliant for us between schools or for languages between twinned classed the possibilities are endless
    • Google’s Map Gadget – if your data is geographical e.g. postcodes Google can map it
    • Comment Press to be able to make more detailed constructive criticism on longer pieces of work
    • using a Blogthenews tag to automatically post your posts to a central school newsletter type blog – I look forward to finding out how to do this

    I have lots of homework to do to find out about some of the above.  I am now following many of the other delegates and hope to swap ideas and experiences.

    Thanks again Bill, Peter, Matt, John and David.

    Written by sammi

    March 29, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Infringing Copyright Laws?

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    As you are merrily blogging or using Google Images on your website, do you ever worry about whether or not you are infringing copyright laws?   Just because you are online and saving images is as easy as a right click doesn’t mean to say that copyright laws do not apply and also that you or your organisation will not be fined heavily for abusing it.


    By St Murse

    Take a look at Sue Water’s very comprehensive article on Teacher Challenge Blog Kick Start Activity 5 – Beginner – Enhancing posts with images.

    So what’s the solution?

    1. Use Creative Commons images
    2. Use your own photos
    3. Create your own images using a range of different tools

    These are the different Creative Commons Licences:

    Thanks to Scott Fisk


    See webdesignlessons.com for 16 websites with Free Stock Images for commercial use

    See also the official Google blog for ways to modify your Google Image search so that only images which are copyright free come up.

    Also see Sitepoint.com (Sean P Aune) for a list of 30 sites with Creative Commons media.


    Written by sammi

    March 23, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Posted in copyright, images, School Blogs

    Tagged with ,

    Class Blogs

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    Our Director of ICT Kerry Turner @4goggas asked me to come up with some ideas and useful Web 2.0 apps and sites for class blogs.  My starting point was Tom Barrett’s @tombarret blog  http://edte.ch .  Tom is a primary Deputy Head from Nottinghamshire with a passion for technology.  On his blog is a collaborative project Interesting Ideas for Class Blog Posts.  This is fantastic and I am going to add some of the ideas I have discovered whilst researching for this post.

    1. Share a photo of your classroom.  Explain about the different parts of it and how it is being used. Invite other teachers and classes to write a similar blog post explaining about their classroom. Encourage children from your class to leave comments about what they like about it or even suggestions for changes they would like to see.

    Spreadsheet work Year 7

    2.  Publish children’s work. Don’t just post work that is flawless but also invite       comments and suggestions on work that can be improved.

    3.  Publish your shared writing. As you produce writing with the class in your       lessons, post it to your blog and invite the class or blog visitors to                       improve something and to comment.

    4.  Share your classroom rules or charter. This can be done at the beginning        of the year and is a good way to share your class agreement with the                    wider community.

    5.  Share a photograph of a classroom display.

    6.  Post a video of SMARTBoard or IWB session during a maths lesson. For             example the written methods for multiplication could be included, the                         children can use it as a revision aid – the parents get to see how the                      school wants it set out AND the children get to comment on their                         favoured method.

    Plant Cells

    7.  Posting images from a digital microscope for the children to comment               on. “What is under our microscope?” – or even asking for people to guess        what the image is and to comment on the suggestions.

    8.  Posting homework tasks every week – eg. maths problems, or an excerpt             from a book/poem; children to comment as their task.  This can become collaborative as students comment on each other’s comments.

    versiones de picasso on PhotoPeach
    9.  Create an Art Gallery

    Post pictures of all of the artwork created in a session and make a gallery   or  slideshow.  You could create a Picasa slideshow for the sidebar that can be continually updated. You need to have a multi user blog to actually embed the slideshow, but if you click on the image you can see what the PhotoPeach slideshow looks like.

    10. Post Concept Cartoons for science prior to a lesson or week of work. Students are asked to comment on what they think will happen and then these can be used as a start to the first lesson or an initial assessment.

    11.  WAGOLL (What A Good One Looks Like) – this is a slight variation on the theme of posting students work for comment.

    12.  Video your class assembly – you can use for discussion on what was good and how it could be improved.

    13.  Post a preview of upcoming topics – hence the tardis for the time travel element.  See http://www.aaronslego.com for instructions on how to make it!

    14. You can use Wordle for vocabulary revision or as an illustration of a poem or extract of text for comment.

    15. Tutorials – you can use screencasts using Jing or Camtasia for example for tutorials involving ICT e.g. Web 2.0 apps to be used at home, or make a video of how to make something in DT.

    16.  Post a Glogster – Poster yourself! A creative, dynamic, and innovative digital outlet that captures learner’s excitement for online creations, keeps learners engaged in course content, and makes teaching and learning more fun.  It is quick to make exciting posters which are multi-sensory and multimedia.  You can either use existing media or make your own podcasts or videos depending upon your time/equipment constraints.  They are also excellent for displays if you print them.  You can use this for WAGOLL (What A Good One Looks Like) or to leave instructions for a homework task.

    17.  Voki allows teachers and students to create speaking avatars in a fun, stimulating and engaging way. Voki allows students to express themselves on the internet in safety and confidently, as their real identities are hidden behind the avatar. Suddenly, with Voki, the shy become outspoken and the reticent assured.  This could be used to consolidate a topic, describe an event or practice a foreign language to name but a few.  See http://www.boxoftricks.net by Jose Picardo (follow the link on the picture above).

    18.  Comments 4 Kids – this is not an idea for the blog itself, but is a way for students and teachers to find blogs to comment on and to get their own posts commented upon. You register your blog and others who are participants are then aware of your blog.  If you participate, you can add the logo at the bottom of the picture above to your blog.    There is also EduBlogger http://bit.ly/gRs41e You can also tweet the link for your class blog using a hashtag #comments4kids and other tweeters can comment.  There is also a tutorial on how to post a good comment which would be useful when commenting on others posts in class or for homework.

    19.  You could use a combination of a random number generator.  The one above is from http://www.ClassTools.net.  You just type in what you want to be randomly selected – be it numbers, or operators for example.  You could create a maths homework where the children make their own sums using two random numbers and an operator for example.  There are also many more random choices at www.random.org (r.g. random coin tossing including foreign coins).

    20.  Pupil of the Week – you could either post a photo or get your students to create an avatar at face your manga You could use this for lots of applications to ensure you keep to the rule of name okay, picture okay but not face and picture.

    21.  Make a Wordle, or as I have here a Tagxedo of class names.  Tagxedo lets you make the words into a shape too.  I couldn’t embed the Tagxedo on this blog, but I imagine you could if it is a multi-user one, or you could create a link to it.

    22.  Post an introduction to a text or topic and ask students to compile questions to be asked in class as comments.  This is from “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee – did you get it?

    23.  Use a Wallwisher to post comments on a topic.  You could create a role play press conference to get students to see other parties’ points of view and get them to post in the opinion of  another party.  e.g. Government v students re university fees …

    24.  Use Google Earth to find the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro and look at the favelas.  You could use Google Earth for a myriad of topics really.

    25.  Have a look at my sidebar.  You can create a Cluster Map for your blog.  Nothing motivates a blogger more than  knowing he has an audience and with the Cluster Map you can bring in Geography topics easily.

    26.  iPadio https://ictideas.wordpress.com/2010/07/06/ipadio/ have a look at my previous post.  This is fab if you are on a residential and you can just “phone in” your posts and don’t need to have access to a computer.  You can also use

    It’s fantastic for many things.

    Impromptu interviews that you can put on your website, ambience that just sound wonderful, music you’ve made yourself, a record of your children growing up or even a full blown radio show. You can use it for reporting, for story-telling, educational use or quick tips.

    Think of it as your audio digital archive, your web connected dictaphone or simply a great way to let your friends know what you’re up to.

    27. Shelfari  This widget is excellent for “what’s new in the Library” as in our Library blog http://library.nottinghamhighblogs.net/2010/11/22/books-for-girls-in-a-boys-school/ You could do one for a year reading list.  “our favourite books” “teacher’s favourite books when they were your age”… In fact I think we should add that to our Library blog?

    28. Free Rice Widget – follow the link on the picture for instructions.

    Free Rice is a fantastic website for 3 reasons:

    1. It’s fun;
    2. It’s educational;
    3. Every time you play you donate rice to hungry people around the world through the UN World Food Programme.

    Originally it was just a great vocabulary game, but now they have added loads of categories to choose from, such as capital cities, countries on the globe etc. Moreover, you can create a login to track the amount of rice you have donated.

    Why not put a Free Rice widget on your blog and create a login for each student, then add a little competition by updating a school graph every week to see which class has donated the most rice? Alternatively, just do it for fun?

    29.  Use Toondoo to illustrate a poem.  Or you could use it to illustrate what students know about a topic e.g. Spain.

    30.  Make a Prezi about something.  This is only for those who are pretty IT savvy as you need to tweak it in Vodpod to make it work, but if you just post an image of your prezi with a link, it works fine.

    I think I will leave it at 3o and just keep adding to it as I get new ideas.  If you have some of your own please either add to Tom Barrett’s Interesting Ideas for Class Blog Posts or comment here or tweet me @sammi1964 please.

    Written by sammi

    November 22, 2010 at 11:10 am

    School Blogs

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    This term at Nottingham High School we are going to have some new blogs to work on so it’s up to us to make them really interesting with plenty of multi-media!

    Nottingham Highs School Blogs

    Without further ado I’d like to give you some examples of fantastic school related blogs:

    Chorlton Blog

    Heathfield CPS

    1M Hawes

    This is from Year 1 – maybe some audio or a Voicethread – a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate pages and leave comments in 5 ways – using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam) would be good here?

    Here are a few more but they are educators blogs:





    Written by sammi

    September 16, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Posted in School Blogs, Voicethread

    Tagged with