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Archive for Blog development

Blogging with parents

Posted by: | January 18, 2010 | No Comment |

For some time now, I have run blogging clubs for children at Chorlton Park. These have been popular and helpful in getting our kids to engage and learn using the blogs. However, lots of children wanted to do the things we did in school back home. This was harder as the children were often more able than their parents, and the parents had questions and concerns about the blogs. As a result, I have changed the format of these clubs.

Each year group from Year 2 to Year 5 will now get half a term of blogging after school on a Tuesday. I will teach parents with their children how to blog. When I canvased opinion, parents wanted to know about esafety (surprise surprise!), about basic blogging, and some wanted to know more technical things such as how to embed video and photo content. This is a wide range of skills. Perhaps more than I can teach in half a term with only half an hour each week.

As a result, I decided to make a series of video tutorials which covered the range of skills that the parents wanted to learn. I will teach esafety explicitly, and make it a condition of their attendance (important if they are then to learn how to embed video or photo content) I will teach them how to leave a comment, and then let them explore for themselves with the help of their children and the tutorials.

Another reason for changing the format of the club is to ensure that the blogs are continued when I leave Chorlton Park. I have asked a teacher from each year group to come and teach the club with me. It will provide a time and space for them to work alongside the parents and children on making their particular yeargroup blog active and engaging, and hopefully boost confidence in the staff.

I would be really interested in hearing people’s thoughts on this. Have I missed out any critical things to teach? What are your favourite ways of teaching esafety stuff? Do you have interesting resources to share? Do you already do something similar? Please leave a comment and let me know.

The tutorials are embedded below. Please use them in your blogs if you find them useful, but a link to the Year 2 blog and a credit would be much appreciated.

Leaving a comment on a WordPress blog from jacksloan on Vimeo.

Writing a post on a WordPress blog from jacksloan on Vimeo.

Adding a link in a WordPress blog post from jacksloan on Vimeo.

Embedding a photograph, picture or drawing into a WordPress blog post from jacksloan on Vimeo.

under: Blog development, Chorlton Park
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Voicethread is a brilliant tool for commenting collaboratively. It is very easy to use, and children can comment using text, a microphone or even a webcam. This presentation will help you to get started.

under: Blog development, Chorlton Park, Voicethread
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Blog posts with pictures are much more exciting aren’t they? Videos are even better… Why not have a go at embedding a photo or video into a blog post? It’s really not as tricky as it sounds.

You can use any photo/video hosting site such as Flickr, but we use Photobucket. It is free and easy to use. Below are instructions for using Photobucket to add pictures/videos.

  1. Create an account on Photobucket. You will need an email address and an adult to help you do this bit.

  2. Make sure you are logged in to Photobucket.

  3. Now click on the button which says “Choose Files” You will need to find the picture you want to upload on your computer then click on “open”. Your picture will upload in a minute or so. Be patient!

  4. After a while, the screen will change. You can now give your picture a title, before clicking “return to album”

  5. You are doing well! Picture uploaded…

  6. Now open another window with Internet Explorer or the browser you use to look on the web. Go to the Year 2 blog.

  7. Log in – year 2 and the password… You know it!

  8. Click on “New Post”

  9. Give your post a title that will help people to understand what it is about.

  10. Write your blog post as normal. Remember to make it clear

  11. Now go back to photobucket. You should see your newly uploaded picture with funny looking boxes underneath.

  12. Click in the box which says “HTML code” Copy it by going to edit, then clicking on “copy”

  13. Nearly there! Now go back to your blog post. Near the top of the post, there is a box which lets you choose between “Visual” and “HTML” Make sure you have clicked “HTML”

  14. Now click where you want the picture to go.

  15. FINALLY… Go to Edit and click “Paste”. This should put a whole load of funny looking writing in the post. Don’t worry!

  16. Click Submit for review – you’re done!

Well done for sticking with it!

under: Blog development, Chorlton Park
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Little Wheel
Play This Game

under: Blog development

One of the restricting things about the Chorlton Park blogs is the difficulty children have in interacting with themes aimed at adults. I am interested to gather ideas for developing a new theme. Having discussed this issue a little at Creative ICT with John Sutton, I have an idea of what I would like. What would you have?
Blog theme design
Please comment. What would you have?

I have used Ocean Mist in the past as a theme. This blog uses it. I like it aesthetically, but found it a)too narrow in the central column and b)2 column only. I really like to keep links and other widgets seperate, and my kids have said they find it easier to understand. I tried Ocean Mist 2.0 but found it very unstable with lots of widgets. Here is a screengrab of Ocean Mist:
Ocean Mist

under: Blog development
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