To Blog Or Not To Blog; the ISM Question.

At BETT 2013, I delivered a presentation about the blogging journey at ISM. Here is the accompanying Prezi.

Why Bother with Blogging?

I have not posted on the ICT Development Blog for over a month, the primary reason being that the blog had been temporarily shut down for ‘review’. During this time I realised just how much I was using the blogging platform for teaching and learning and without it, how the classroom instantly became a more stagnant and mundane place. Paradoxically, I also found that I had more time on my hands as I was no longer moderating posts/comments, uploading pictures, video’s, podcasts, prezi’s, glogsters or popplets!

So this got me thinking; why am I investing so much time in school blogging and why was there such an obvious vacuum in my classroom when the blogs were unavailable? The answer that immediately sprang to mine was simply the versatility of blogging; how with a little creativity you can give purpose, motivation and feedback to all kinds of different work and projects. The fact that the children’s pieces of work had a relevance above and beyond a helpful comment in a book (and maybe a house point here and there) is hugely significant too. No longer is work marked, forgotten and left in a cupboard somewhere slowly gathering dust. Rather, their work can be accessed, revised, updated and indeed port-folioed throughout their school careers! Who knows, the Universities of tomorrow may actually value evidence of creativity rather than a bland set of exam results…

I thought I would also share with you some of the tools we are using in our classrooms and how we have used them in correlation with our blog. There are so many wonderful ICT tools available that can be easily adapted and then published on the blog to share with the world. Please take a look and leave a comment, after all Blogs are all about audience and the comments make it all (even more) worth while:

Audioboo – A simple podcasting App on the Ipad that sends the recording straight to the cloud-based hosting site. The HTML can then be easily copied to the blog. We have recently used them in Year Six to record biographies and reflections on the research process – They Made a Difference

Flipsnack – A great free web 2.0 tool that is used for converting PDF’s to stunning digital books, again the HTML can then be copied onto the blog. We used them in Year Six to publish our ‘Virtual Country Guides’ in conjunction with Audioboo to record their reflections – Virtual Countries

Glogster – Another great web 2.0 tool that is free for individual use, or you can subscribe to for multiple users relatively cheaply. You can use Glogster to make fantastic, interactive posters complete with video and audio. We have been using them in Year Three to make posters their native countries – Link to Come

Prezi – The awesome tool that is Prezi has been widely used throughout our Primary School. It is cloud based zooming presentation tool that is simple, and highly effective. We have used it in Year Six for presenting our scientific work on habitats, in Year Five to present work on Pollution and in Year Three to present about communities! – Science Prezi’s

Popplet – An incredibly user friendly and versatile tool that can be used for brainstorming, planning, mind mapping and presenting. It also has a very handy App on the iPad. We have used this in Year Five and Year Six for presentations on pollution and ‘Animal Farm’ respectively – Y5 Pollution Popplet

Puppet Pals – This a super-simple, but highly effective iPad App. You choose your characters, and move them whilst the App records your narration. We used Puppet Pals in Year Five to record conversations on Pollution – Pollution Puppet Pals

Show Me – Another iPad App that is free, simple and can be used in any number of creative ways. You can record annotations, import pictures and record your voice all at the same time. Therefore, the children can actually produce evidence of their understanding. In Year Six we used the Khan Academy as an inspiration and have started to produce our own ‘Maths Academy’