Category Archives: blogging

eT@lking summary: Talking about Blogging

This informal discussion on blogging had a broad range of participants from many sectors of education, included non-teachers. This made for rich conversations.

The video camera was used to good effect with Graham showing a Writing magazine that he had picked up from a newsagent with two great articles on blogging. The whiteboard and chat were used for interactivity and application sharing allowed some blogging sites to be demonstrated. Here is the link to the recording.

From the chat

Below are the whiteboard screen dumps:-

Topics for discussion

Ideas for Building Readership

This Week’s Tech Talk Tuesdays and eT@lking

Tech Talk Tuesdays: Challenge Based Learning

Date/Time: Tuesday March 8th 4-5pm Melbourne Australia time (gmt+11)

What is Challenge Based Learning and why should you use it?

Challenge Based Learning is an approach which has –

  • A multiple entry point strategy and varied and multiple possible solutions
  • A focus on universal challenges with local solutions
  • An authentic connection with multiple disciplines
  • An opportunity to develop 21st century skills
  • The purposeful use of Web 2.0 tools for organizing, collaborating, and publishing
  • The opportunity for students to do something rather than just learn about something
  • The documentation of the learning experience from challenge to solution
  • 24/7 access to up-to-date technology tools and resources so students can do their work

from Challenge Based Learning: Take action and make a difference [Apple 2009] p.2

Find out how Challenge Based Learning was used with Primary and Middle Years students, by someone who has actually taught it! This session will be presented by Mark Richardson.

About Mark:– Mark Richardson has taught in primary schools for many years. For the past decade he has been ICT Coordinator at Williamstown Primary School, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. He also has extensive experience planning and delivering professional learning to teachers in ICT / eLearning. His current interests are Web 2.0 technologies in schools, multimedia, using Web Conferencing as a teaching tool, Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy, Moodle / Ultranet, Challenge Based Learning, 1 to 1 Classrooms and anything on a Macintosh.

Mark has an article on CBL which has just been published in Education Technology Solutions #41

Here is thelink to join the session. Please note the room will open at 3:30pm. This session will be recorded

eT@lking: Talking about Blogging

Date/Time: Wednesday March 9th, 8-9pm, Australia time (gmt +11)

Continuing on with our theme on blogging, this session is a general sharing  amongst participants where you can ask questions about blogging eg where to begin, how to write posts, tag, add categories, what to write about etc through to questions on advanced blogging, what makes an effective blog, what place does blogging have in eLearning etc? Come along,share your blogs, your questions and join in the conversations.
Here is the link to the session

10 things You Should Know About Class Blogs

Class Blogs are great! They can have real ‘class’! A class blog is created by a teacher and is often used as a platform for sharing class activities, writings, thoughts, reflections etc Here are 10 things you should know about them!

Please note: this post is in response to the first challenge in the 30 Day Blogging with Students

  1. They are the best starting point for blogging with students.
  2. Class blogs allow the teachers and students to learn together – how posts work, how comments work, how digital citizenship works, netiquette, appropriate digital footprints etc
  3. As the teacher can have full control, any difficulties and issues that might arise can be quickly dealt with.
  4. Students can gain their apprenticeship in blogging with a class blog, before getting a license to start their own blog.
  5. Once the teacher is ready for students to add posts directly they can be added in as editors  or another type of user.
  6. Teachable moments will arise, including blog titles, post content, commenting, adding appropriate comments, behaviour online, cyber safety, plaguarism etc.
  7. Class blogs a are a great platform for connection with parents, staff and the general community
  8. Pages on class blogs can feature many resources eg pages on cybersafety page, parent information page, timetable, homework etcA platform to ‘house’ links to most commonly used resources on a blog roll will allow quick access to online sites.
  9. Develops into a ‘brag bag’ or digital portfolio of a class’s year .
  10. Can become immersed in the classroom as a near complete learning management system, complete with lesson instructions, tutorials, resources, podcasts, reflections, feedback etc. It is available 24/7/365 for revision, lesson planning and more.

Do you have a class blog? What would you say is important to note about a class blog?

eT@lking: Blogging – a 21st Century Digital Literacy

Great conversations were shared in this session. There were participants who had not blogged and others who were experienced with blogging. Questions were sought from the participants and then answers were gained from the interactive discussions in the chat and on the whiteboard, ranging from:-

  1. How do I get a blog?
  2. How do you decide on a name for your url and blog title?
  3. Privacy issues
  4. How much time will I need to put in?
  5. Sorting out categories and tags
  6. How to keep motivated when comments don’t come in!
  7. and much more!

As Penny and Whatedsaid had microphones, they walked us through their fabulous blogs and explained the elements of and reasons for having their blog content.

Some of the other bloggers who were present included:-

  1. Celia
  2. HiHelen
  3. Mentone Mif
  4. murcha

If you want to know more about blogging, don’t miss the recording to this session.

Blogging – a Digital Literacy of the 21st Century

Date:- Wed, February 16th

Time:-  8-9pm (Melbourne, Australia gmt+11)

This session will continue on from our theme of microblogging over the last few weeks. Blogging is a digital literacy of the 21st century. It is essential that as we become increasingly digital and have an online presence that there is a base for people from across the country and globe, to connect and communicate with each other. Blogging provides the perfect platform for asynchronous connections.

In this session the following may be discussed depending on the participants who are present:-

  • what is a blog?
  • how can blogs be used?
  • where should we start with blogs?
  • what makes an effective blog?
  • the recent Teacher blogging challenge and the upcoming student challenge with edublogs (to be continued next week with Sue Wyatt)
  • how can we increase our readership and our connections?
  • and other questions that participants may pose.

Please join us, bring along the things you would like to be shown or discussed and share in the conversations.

Here is the link to the session


How to get people active/interested in a blog!

(Please note:- that this is not my formal response to the last challenge “Building Readership” but covers me until I do.)

As I am still contemplating the content of my final response to the last challenge in the current series of Kick Start Your Blog Challenge, (Yes, I know I am really late with it, but……. precious time!), I received this plea for help from an online colleague. A plea that is pertinent to the final challenge – Building Readership (Beginner) and Promote that Blog (Advanced)!


I have set up a blog with Word Press for Religious Education Co-ordinators in Melbourne and surrounds and emailed them the link. I set up a few posts myself and a few people replied to them, but I am feeling a bit dispirited about it as no-one else but me puts up posts and so few people (out of about 50 or 60 REC’s) have chosen to subscribe. I don’t know how to get more people interested. It was meant to be a way for us to share good ideas or ask questions of each other, but its not going to work if so few people look at it. Any ideas?


This is a quandary that so many of us face and despite being disheartened, hang in there and keep blogging away! Very few of us are successful overnight and it may take up to three years to become fully established, networked and to build a ‘good’ readership level. It takes networking, time and experience. However, here are some pointers and advice. Many of these members may be new to the online environment, so will need to be encouraged and taught how to use it.

Evidence of a great start!

  • A ‘niche’ blog has been established
  • An emailing list, with a specific interest,  has been alerted to the existence of a blog
  • An RSS feed has been set up. (It took me two years to work this out and another year to get subscribers)
  • Several people have subscribed already. This shows that there is interest and some who understand this environment.
  • Your blog has a purpose.

Further ideas to build readership:-

  • Use your emailing list – add this same question tothe emailing list to get  feedback, needs of the list and publicity. If questions are asked on the list, this makes the perfect time to write a post on that question.
  • Add the same question to the discussions on a number of social networking sites that you belong to eg Classroom2.0 and Guide To Innovation. If you are happy I want to add this as a blog post to my blog and try and get feedback from others as well.
  • Ensure appropriate categories and tags are added. There may be others around the globe interested in the searching for information and the search engines will pick these up.
  • If images are added to a post as a ‘stand alone’, ensure there is text provided to explain why they are there, how they can be used and seeking advice from readers about alternatives and ways to use them. Interact with questions as much as possible, to tease out those important comments.
  • Add links to  appropriate resources and other similar blogs via blogroll to encourage repeat visits
  • Ask members of the list to write a guest blog post. It can be typed up in a word processor, emailed it to you to post, with appropriate acknowledgements.
  • Find one or two others who may be able to help. Make them administrators, set up a roster to contribute etc.
  • Add some widgets eg  a clustrmap, geovisite and/or a feedjit traffic feed. You may be surprised how many people visit the blog without leaving a footprint. This will keep you motivated.
  • Add an email option for subscriptions to the blog.
  • Write effective posts
  • add an ‘about me‘ page, which quite clearly explains the purpose of the blog etc.
  • Check out some of the wonderful Kick Start Your Blog Challenges and read some of the blog posts created in response.
  • Add questions that are quick and easy to answer, to tease out those all important comments of readers.

You have a niche blog, your audience will be reasonably niche but it is global in aspect! If we can resolve the issue that you have posed, networking can be escalated, the use of blogs increased, online sharing empowered and the use of technology to its best advantage.
What would you advise? Do you work in a group blog? How do you encourage readership? If you have written a blog post on this please add a comment.

Adding Legs to my Blog (alias “Walking you through my sidebar!”

Add Bling to a Blog

Challenge #7 of Kick Start Your Blog looked at the use of widgets in a blog and the possibility of adding some bling! The sidebar(s) of a blog may need a spring clean and mine certainly did and still does. Here is what I did in the spring clean! Let me walk you through my side bar.

1. About Me My blog did not have an avatar on the sidebar, so I registered for a gravatar, added my photo and wrote a short piece about ambitions and passions. I will link this to may ‘About Me’ page.

2.  Categories This is an essential item on a blog, so that posts of a similar topic can be searched for. Search engines may also pick up on the categories. Maintained my drop down menu for categories. Tags should appear near the categories so that readers interested in more, can quickly choose a tag.

3. RSS Feed – allows interested readers to subscribe to my blog and receive notice of post updates. The “subscribe by email” option is also on the sidebar for those who prefer to receive it by email.

4. Search box: To retrieve blog posts on a particular topic (primarily for personal use)

5. Badges: It is with pride that these are displayed – nominations for the Edublogs Awards 2008, 2010.It is also with pride that I promote the amazing Global Education Conference 2010.

6. Blogroll: this aspect still needs tidying up, as some blogs are idle and there are others  to add. Then follows links to global projects, frequently used resources, blogs that are special to me (family etc) and my other blogs. Horror of all horrors – I had not added the Kick Start Your Blog Challenge to my sidebar. That was quickly rectified. As the blogroll gets longer, I shall consider putting this on a page rather than the sidebar.

7. Widgets: I am still trying to work out what widgets  wordpress will accept but Clustrmaps has been added. This is reset each year. Sometimes, I catch my students looking at my map, working out what countries the dots are from etc.  Geovisite has some great tracking options but cannot be added to wordpress.

8. Meta:- login for the blog. This should be at the bottom of the sidebar as only the blogger needs access to this.

I am not sure whether I need the latest tweets or  my latest post updates. A clock widget would be good so if anyone knows of one for wordpress, I would love you tell me as a comment below.

Class Blog – As my students use this blog, it has more bling but is also in major need of renovation. As our location is changing, I need to redo all my widgets and sidebar.

  1. Features most of the above except the blogroll includes links to my student blogs.
  2. Digital clock –  to inform our global contacts what
    day it is in Australia and what the current time where we live.
  3. A countdown to an important event or to the end of the year
  4. Student blog of the week
  5. Tags in a word cloud
  6. Geovisite tracking and mapping  objects
  7. Feedjit traffic feed

What do you see as essential on your sidebar? How does the sidebar on your teacher blog compare to that on a class blog?


Adding legs to my blog (alias “Walking you through my sidebar)