It’s a blogger’s life
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It’s a blogger’s life - A year in the life of a Web 2.0 beginner First, important things to know... I AM NOT AN ICT EXPERT!!! I am a Spanish teacher, who was taught how to use PowerPoint 3 years ago.

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It’s a blogger’s life

- A year in the life of a Web 2.0 beginner

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  • First, important things to know...


    • I am a Spanish teacher, who was taught how to use PowerPoint 3 years ago.

    • I do not know how the Internet works, I just push buttons, especially the back button when things go wrong.

    • The ideas that I pass on in this session are not...

    • Completely comprehensive

    • They will not destroy your life

      • 3) No notes needed- will be on

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“If school is to be a truly rewarding experience for today’s students, it must be relevant to them.”

Connected magazine, Learning and teaching Scotland

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Blogging aspects;

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Blogging aspects;

What is a blog?!?!?!

  • Blog= weblog

    • Traditionally used as an online diary

    • A typical blog combines a variety of media forms

    • Key element is huge increase in interactivity- INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY.

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Blogging aspects;

  • In educational terms, usually divide into 2 types of blog

    Class blogs

    Reflective teacher blogs (Ewan McIntosh) (Joe Dale) (Me)

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Blogging aspects;

  • What can we actually use a blog for?!?!

    • Showing pupils’ work

    • Sharing files

    • Showing pupils videos etc

    • Increasing Assessment for Learning

    • Increasing pupil independence and self-evaluation

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Blogging aspects;

Why use blogs?

  • Motivation- make the world your classroom wall

    • Learning no longer confined to exercise books

    • Who is the audience for work which goes into an exercise book?

    • Truly global perspective

      • Can be demonstrated by visitors maps on blogs

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Blogging aspects;

Why use blogs?

  • Writing

    • Increased motivation- will be viewed by more than just the teacher

    • Very obvious to all when their peers’ work is missing from the blog

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Blogging aspects;

Why use blogs?

  • Reading

    • Principal skill gain- pupils constantly reading each other’s work

    • Allows free choice of which sections to read

    • Aids pupil independence

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Blogging aspects;

Why use blogs?

  • Speaking

    • Oral vocab lists to aid pronunciation

    • Pupil and teacher generated podcasts

    • Speaking tests / exercises

      =learning opportunity rather than just an assessment opportunity

    • Provides a platform for pupil-made videos

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Blogging aspects;

Why use blogs?

  • Listening

    • To podcasts

    • To videos (pupil created, music, adverts, football commentaries etc)

    • To peers’ work

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Blogging aspects;

Why use blogs?

  • Assessment for Learning

    • Comment function allows peer assessment using “Two Stars and a Wish formula”

      = 2 positive elements

      + 1 element to work at next time

    • Self-assessment as pupils comment on their own work and thus self target set.

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Blogging aspects;

That’s the theory- how have I actually used the school blog?

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Blogging aspects;


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Blogging aspects;

  • On the blog this is a listening exercise, but...

  • Pupils had to write scripts

  • Pupils read and peer-assessed each other’s scripts

  • Pupils read the script out

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Blogging aspects;

Music video

- great cultural input

- an interesting homework to end topic of body parts

- Year 8 pupils were mostly humming the song round school for next few days

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Blogging aspects;


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Blogging aspects;



  • - Pupils write scripts

  • Peer assess

  • Practise

  • Record

  • High level of enjoyment

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Blogging aspects;

  • Year 2 and 3- same rules apply

  • Wrote scripts

  • Peer-assessed and improved by adding conjunctions

  • Practised together

  • Recorded

  • Listened to each other’s and gave a mark out of 5 for accent and detail

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Blogging aspects;


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Blogging aspects;

  • Year 8 wrote Guess Who style self-descriptions

  • For next homework, pupils read the descriptions and left a comment saying who they were

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Blogging aspects;

  • Desires for this year

  • Higher Level pupils to leave comments in TL

  • Potential for pupils to use to leave voicemail messages for on the blog

  • Put online video conferences for viewing after the event, either using Skype / Pretty May or Flashmeeting

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Blogging aspects;

Who provides the blog facility?

  • TypePad -

    • Easiest for inserting fun stuff (provider that I use)

  • Blogger -

  • Edublogs -

  • Wordpress -

  • Many, many more…

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Blogging aspects;

To learn about further tools to complement blogs






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Podcasting aspects;

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Podcasting aspects;

What is a podcast?

- effectively an audio file which is then put onto the Internet

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Podcasting aspects;

How have I used them?

- Grammar series

- pupil recordings

- pupil grammar explanations

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Podcasting aspects;

Grammar series

created to help reinforce grammar learning OUTSIDE of the classroom

- responding to a request by a pupil

- FANTASTIC for audio learners

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  • Adding the podcast to iTunes aspects;

  • Motivation

  • Can put onto MP3 players / computers and listen to work again, rather than just forgetting it


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Podcasting aspects;

  • Sounds hard, but isn’t!

  • Use a podcast host, eg


  • 2) Copy the feed address which you will be given

  • Eg

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Podcasting aspects;

Pupil recordings

- selected recordings again put onto iTunes


- huge motivator- notable impact on quality

- great revision tool

- pupils listen to their recordings repeatedly whilst editing

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Podcasting aspects;

Pupil grammar explanations

- benefit of explaining to others

- need for script

- peer assessment on podcasts

- minimal teacher input, maximum output

- pupils then have an immediate revision tool

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Podcasting aspects;

How to record a podcast...

1) Recording material

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Podcasting aspects;

  • How to record a podcast...

  • Recording material

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Podcasting aspects;

  • How to record a podcast...

  • Recording material

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Podcasting aspects;

  • How to record a podcast...

  • Recording material

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Podcasting aspects;

  • How to record a podcast...

  • Recording material

  • Audacity for PCs-

  • + LAME FE

  • (allows you to export as MP3)

  • OR Garageband for Macs

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Using mobile phones aspects;

  • Issues:

  • Banned in many schools

  • Risks of inappropriate behaviour

  • Fear of pupil intercompetition

  • Concern of pupils not having a phone

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Using mobile phones aspects;

  • However, there are huge benefits...

  • Enjoyment and motivation- MFL becomes cool again

  • Speaking the pupils’ language whilst teaching them ours

  • Increasing range of services available via WAP

    • e.g. YouTube,

    • Allows learning to be extended well beyond classroom and lesson time

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Using mobile phones aspects;

  • Useful tools available on most mobile phones...

  • Voice recorder

  • Camera

  • Video camera

  • Stop-watch

  • Bluetooth

  • Ability to play-back videos and music

How much would it cost a department to have enough of these to share between 2?

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  • Ideas for video projects using mobiles... aspects;

  • Describing school as go round it

  • Describing local area

  • Guide to saving the environment

  • Following and giving directions

  • Describing friends

  • Recording grammar explanations during the lesson

  • Issue: how to get the recordings back to the teacher

  • Options- 1) bluetooth them to a computer

  • 2) bluetooth them to teacher’s phone

  • 3) other options?

Using mobile phones

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Using mobile phones aspects;

For example, directions:

- in pairs, pupils decide which room they will give directions to

- write script

- walk around the building and record the directions

- swap phones / bluetooth to each other and follow the instructions

- find out whether they followed instructions appropriately


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Using mobile phones aspects;

House and home

- pupils build up to estate-agent style description of their house

- free choice of recording manners

- mobile phone

- voice recording

- video on camera

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Using mobile phones aspects;


- the ability to update a blog from distance

e.g. During a trip

- no need to wait a week to get back to the classroom – allows you to send materials to the blog from mobiles – an answerphone with a national number, avoiding expensive phone calls.

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Using wikis aspects;

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Using wikis aspects;

First question- what is a wiki?

- in effect, a type of webpage which can be edited by anyone who is a member of it

But this video will explain it FAR better than I ever could

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Using wikis aspects;

  • How have I used a wiki?

  • Revision for GCSEs

  • Edgehill Euro 08 project

  • Collaborative writing

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Using wikis aspects;

  • Revision for GCSE exam

  • Key is that pupils were in charge

  • During course of 2 years, pupils had recorded their answers to key GCSE questions.

  • Pupils shown how to use Jellycast, and a link set up to, which provides media players.

  • Pupils add media players to their page, building up listening resources for the class, allowing peer- improvement

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Using wikis aspects;

  • Revision for GCSE exam

  • Hugely beneficial for audio learners

  • Allowed all pupils to keep pushing on

  • Made their learning distinct from other subjects

  • Could also develop joint pool of useful phrases

  • Ideal for keeping the boys interested

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Using wikis aspects;

  • 2) Edgehill Euro 08 project

  • Designed to develop understanding of the 16 European nations involved in the European football championships of June 2008

  • Wiki allowed me to

  • post a video to explain the project to teachers

  • provide technical support for teachers

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  • 3) Collaborative writing aspects;

  • In their own user area, pupils begin to write an essay, answering a series of questions.

    • During the course of the lesson, they change users 4 or 5 times

    • - checking for errors, then enhancing the piece

  • Teacher can later see who has made what changes by viewing page history- excellent for assessment.

  • Next step is to look into the power of Google Docs

Using wikis

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Digital video aspects;

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Digital video aspects;

  • Always used to intrigue but scare me

  • Huge potential for learning

  • - can be posted on blog+ viewed (using )

  • - can be converted for use on mobiles or iPods

  • (using to MP4 for iPods, 3G for mobiles)

  • Hugely motivational, especially when pupils understand that their work will be seen by the world!

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Digital video aspects;

Ease of editing in Windows Movie Maker

- effectively drag and drop

- crucial status of trial and error

- learning from your pupils

mine knew far more than me about it!

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Plenary- Frequently Asked Questions aspects;

  • Won’t it all take ages?

  • Will anyone actually look at the blog?

  • What effect will it have on my department?

  • What about Child Protection?

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If in doubt, ask... aspects;