Wednesday 25th April 2007 was an historic day in more ways than one. The sad news of 1966 World Cup Final Winner Alan Ball’s death was announced and Nodehill Middle School took part in its first ever videoconference. Driven by a desire to demonstrate the learning potential of Flashmeeting, blogging and podcasting, I volunteered to run a two hour after school session Breaking down the classroom walls with technology to the whole staff.
Despite becoming somewhat of a regular on the conference circuit in recent times, the prospect of speaking in front of my own colleagues and revealing my true ‘geekiness’ was a scary if unfounded thought. In reality, I had nothing to worry about as everyone reacted very warmly and generously shared their own experiences with each other.
The aim of the session was to show how technology can be used throughout the curriculum to offer new learning opportunities to enhance and personalise the education of pupils at Nodehill. I wanted to give concrete examples in a range of subjects which colleagues could specifically relate to as well as ask the Nodehill bloggers (Gill Bushell, Richard Peace, Peter Schlachter and Nick Wiltshire) to talk about their own individual takes on the power of blogging and podcasting.
The most nerve-wracking moment was waiting to videoconference with Silvia Tolisano, elementary school teacher at San Jose Episcopal Day School in Jackonsville, Florida. The previous week, Silvia and I had had a practise run with Flashmeeting as she was new to the service and this proved very useful when it came to the session itself. The way in which Silvia calmly discussed her ideas on using mp3 players and mobile phones both in and outside the classroom was amazing as was her use of Google Earth to ‘fly’ from her school to ours ‘across the pond’.
At the end of the session, staff gave their feedback in the form of post-it notes which I’ve typed up below. Since Wednesday, I’ve also been very pleased to hear colleagues openly discussing how they can use new technologies like blogging and podcasting in their teaching. I hope we can keep these conversations going and build on existing practice within the school. It is vital that we share our ideas and support each other. In this regard, I plan to run a further practical session on using Audacity in the coming weeks and then one on blogging after that.
Let’s hope we can continue to break down our classroom walls with technology and as the clipart at the top of this post suggests find out for ourselves what we can learn from doing so.
We’ll see, eh?
- Definitions of Flashmeeting, blogging and podcasting
- Ideas on how can we use these technologies to enhance learning across the curriculum
- Steph Hopkins subscription quote
- We have the technology – laptops, iRivers, Webcams
- Description of Flashmeeting
- Flashmeeting v Skype
- Creating links with other countries
- Flashmeeting example – China and English school Porters Grange
- Ideas for using Flashmeeting and having to take turns
- 50%-75% pupils in KS3 already have a Bebo account
- Blogging is as easy as sending an email
- Blogging as assessment for learning
- Moderating comments and creating a safe environment
- Examples of different comments and how they can communicate
- What to include on your blog and how to get started
- Purpose, Audience, Content
- Taking advantage of the school community to read your blog
- Establishing blog rules
- Reasons to blog
- Nodehill French blog comments
- Introducing Silvia Tolisano
- Historical moment - First video conference ever at Nodehill
- Paper blogging
- Advertising your blog and finding your blog on Google
- Choosing your blogging platform
- Defining ‘one click publishing’ and not having to learn html
- Choosing to set up a blog or a website in a box
- Paying for a year’s subscription
- More blog comments and how they help learning
- Creating a buzz with your blog
- Inchinnan and Kirklandneuk examples
Greetings from across the pond - Silvia’s top tips for using technology in the classroom
- Recording pupils with mp3 players for podcasts
- Playing with the technology
- Subscribing to web services which allow you to record your voice by ringing a special number
- which you can then use on a school trip with a mobile phone
- Using Google Earth to make learning connections
- Using iRivers to make audio recordings outside the classroom on field trips
- Posting recordings on a travel blog so parents can see what there children are doing when they are away
- Recording students singing as a memory aid
- Recording class presentations and being published
- Giving others access to students’ work outside the classroom
- Nick Wiltshire, Leader of History asks Silvia for her ideas on using technology in history
- Silvia’s final thoughts and offering to make more connections across the pond
Interviewing the Nodehill bloggers
Gill Bushell, Leader of RE describes the RE blog Believe it or not
- Reasons for setting up the blog and how Gill is now using it to raise the profile of RE and improve her own ICT skills
- Keeping a sense of continuity when deciding on layout and design
- Choosing a name
- Promoting RE in and outside school for recording events such as Special Acts of Worship, M.A.P.P days (More Able Pupil Project Days) and to publish children’s work
- Encouraging pupils to leave comments
- Providing opportunities for Self and peer assessment
- Positive response from pupils and giving them what they want
- The personalised benefits of accessing resources at home
Richard Peace, Geography and Science teacher who is in charge of our Eco-schools project describes his blog Take the weather with you
- Choosing to set up a blog to promote the work of the Nodehill Meteorological Club
- Creating weekly audio forecasts or 'Metcasts' made by pupils to predict the weekend weather on the Isle of Wight
- The benefits of publishing on the World Wide Web
- Linking to other useful resources
- Getting excited by hits from all over the world
- Relating content to Year 8 topic in Geography scheme of work
- Discussing climate change
- Receiving comments from pupils
- Adding Widgets to your blog
- Advert for weekly weather photo
- Reviewing the weekly Metcast to gauge its accuracy
- Setting your blog as a widget to aid subscription
- Advertising each other’s Nodehill blogs
- Plans to launch an Eco-schools blog
Peter Schlachter, Leader of Numeracy describes his Nodehill Maths blog
- Overcoming initial scepticism about the potential of blogging
- Deciding to set up a blog as a way of helping parents to give their children further support in maths away from the classroom
- Concentrating on ‘real-life’ problems such as weights, measures, telling the time and times tables
- Creating downloadable pdf files and Word documents with blank templates for extra practice
- Dealing with copyright and time management issues
- Organising a meeting with parents to explain the aims of the blog
- Competing with other Nodehill blogs and getting excited by worldwide hits
- Using key words in Google Blog Search or WidgetBox to find blogs
Nick Wiltshire, Leader of History describes his website and blog History Nodehill
- Deliberately not choosing to go the Typepad way
- Creating a permanent digital resource for parents, staff and pupils
- Blogging as personal therapy
- Researching the history of the school
- Adding a poll and map
- Typepad v Mr Site
- Becoming ‘blog happy’
- Recording a M.A.P.P day at The Roman Villa
- Adding password-protected Pathé videos which pupils are encouraged to access from home
- Including reference to the site in the medium term plans for History
- Going to the National Archive
- Creating downloadable documents to support homework
- Uploading useful references
- Developing and organising a links page
- Adding educational games
- Creating a blidget and RSS feed reader
- The benefits of podcast
- Audacity demo and using podsafe music
- Assignment: Podcast
- The Golden Rules: Script, Record and Edit
- Creating a blogging and podcasting culture
- Podcasting examples
- MFL blog examples
- Blogging and podcasting links
- Carisbloggers example
- A few final thoughts and thanks
Carisbloggers (Kyra Ward)
Post-it note comments
Very useful and informative. Rather concerned about time needed to set up and update site
What legal rules are there with regards to putting photos of pupils on the net?
To share ideas with other professionals - lesson plans?
How do you arrange for a whole class to record their work?
What has an iPod got to do with a podcast?
What is the TIME management for your blog? How do you regulate your blog?
Well done Joe. I think we will all go blog crazy now!
Blog - real audience. It's got to be motivational. Podcast - on event in curriculum area. Pupils could explain process for subject skills
Great tips on how to use blogs better and include speech for those of lesser ability who struggle to write
You've inspired me to try it out!
Could we have a session where we blog?
What is the difference between a 'website + bulletin board' and a 'blog'? Aren't they the same?
Giving tips for exams or revision techniques
Why do you have to 'book time' for the Flashmeeting? Does it cost? (per minute?)
The pen is mightier than the sword ...
How often do you have to check emails?
Whilst at Superchoice visit with Year 6 - lots of them were using Bebo - anything to keep them interested and excited in the class should be encouraged - this is their technology! Their way of learning!
Design and Technology - Gamemaker - Can post their games for other children to play on
Geography - Development of new original content - to publish and make available to pupils
Animation Club / Film Club - Set up a blog to celebrate all the work they do
Time - Time is always an issue for any teacher. Blogging can be time-consuming if you let it. Once the blog is set up which takes a couple of hours in my experience, it's up to you how you choose to use it. I suggest experimenting and seeing how your pupils react.
Photos of pupils - As teachers we need to gain permission from parents which could be done on an individual basis or through a blanket policy covering any multimedia eventuality)
The iPod myth - because the word podcast has the word 'pod' in it, there is a common misconception that you need an iPod to podcast when this is not in fact the case.
Whole class recording with mp3 players - This depends on your purpose. If pupils record themselves all at once in pairs, then clearly there will be background noise. If the aim is for them simply to practise listening to themselves speak, that's OK. If they want to make a 'best' version they can take it in turns in or outside the classroom.
The difference between a 'website + bulletin board' and a 'blog'? - I think a blog is arguably more dynamic and perhaps more straightforward to set up. Moreover, as the blogmaster you can set your own tone and direct conversations yourself more easily. There are many similarities though, I agree.
Booking sessions for Flashmeeting - It is free to use Flashmeeting, but you have to set up an account first. I would imagine that you have to book sessions so The Open University can keep a record of who is using the service to ensure no-one abuses it.
Checking emails - I find moderating comments is not an onerous task as long as you don't ask too many classes to leave them all at the same time!
See Silvia's response to her Flashmeeting experience here