Daily Archives: November 7, 2005

The first six ActivBoards are humming along as well as can be expected with our pioneering bunch from ActivBoarding. Although I still moan regularly about the fact that 95% of the posts there come from me, I have got my boss to check out educational blogging and she even contributed a post. I think I have a solution to try and get them on the blogging train and encourage other staff members to give it a go. In my role here, I offer Training and Development sessions for staff that counts towards their T&D hours for the year. (Here in South Australia, we need to complete 37 and a half verified hours of T&D every year - then the Government gives us the final week of the year off before Christmas, bringing us into line with the rest of Australia. Adelaide is sometimes referred to as the "sleepy hollow" of the country.) I've shown teachers how to design webpages, how to operate a thumbdrive or use a scanner (don't laugh) or even how to use attachments in e-mail. So, maybe the go is to run a course on Blogs 101, get them reading blogs via a preset Bloglines account (original idea, Steve Dembo), set up their own account (Blogger is good, but hey, you can't go past edublogs, I say!) and show them the basics of posting, comments etc. Then give them an hour every week on a Tuesday afternoon where they can come in, read their feeds, post to their blog, play with some of the other tools - Technorati, deli.cio.us, Furl, plus others that will have evolved by then and they accumulate hours of official T&D towards the required 37 and a half. I would have no idea how much time I've committed to developing my blogging skills and knowledge - it would be a lot by my own choice. But the big argument thrown in my face is that there isn't enough time to do this. Well, if I provide the time to get my colleagues started, there goes that excuse.
Well, I've strayed completely from my original intent for this post but it was to mention that the school is doubling its IWB quota and I am holding a workshop for interested staff next week to groom the next prospective IWB users. I've been developing a flipchart presentation (similar to Powerpoint, but with interactive components) that I might post a link to here when it is ready. It covers the starting points as I've already covered the pedagogical reasons at staff meeting a fortnight back. There are some very keen teachers, some who think they might be interested, a few from another private school dropping by to check it out and one very brave teacher who is not technologically confident at all who wants to come to find out what it all involves, even if in her words, she would be "daunted by it all." So, what you want to know before you had one of these exciting tools installed in your classroom? I hope I hit the right notes with this.
Current staff member using ActivBoard

One of the great aspects of blogs is that your content is published to a potential worldwide audience. However when you start off in a purposeful blog, you realise that it could take a while before anyone else seeks to interact with you. Now that's not a bad thing because if you start off blogging for yourself, the topics will be genuine and help you to find your voice. As time goes on, the interactivity and the connections to other people become important to connect your work to what you read about in your Bloglines feeds. Now my blog doesn't attract a lot of comments so I can tell you that all that do are treated like gold. First, it's proof that someone is reading my work and secondly, maybe my blog has contributed to their learning and then their comments definitely contribute to mine!

So a recent post of mine, Finding Time To Blog, prompted Canadian educator James Matthew to leave a comment and to "rip and remix" my post in his own blog Palimpsest redux.

I just stumbled onto a post by Graham over at Teaching Generation Z that suggests this problem of getting peers to buy into the importance of teaching (or even implementing in their own practice) the use of social software:

Now I can't afford to be snobby to anyone so I commented on his remix.

James, thank you for the comments re: Finding Time To Blog. I have to say I don't feel like a veteran teacher especially here down under where the average age of a teacher in South Australia is 50 years old. I have been involved in ICT technologies for most of my teaching career and have always looked for the bleeding edge even if I've never quite been there ......

And here's where comments can become a conversation because Matthew then replied to my comment. With this new way of weaving learning strands together I have a few choices - (i) leave another comment that answers some of the questions and issues he raises or (ii) do a remix of my own to show how the pieces can fit together. Here's a key point from Matthew's reply comment:

I think the biggest effect blogging has had on me is that it fuels my appetite for learning…I read a lot more now, because I want to have something to say. If this is the only benefit I ever see, then that is great, but I see the potential for so much more.

I couldn't agree more. I still haven't moved past blogging for personal learning but I definitely want it to be part of my classroom practice in 2006. There are only six weeks left in the Aussie school year so my focus is to keep improving my craft here and try to drag a few of my teaching colleagues along for the ride. So, Matthew, if you're reading this, watch this blog for developments. Anyone else, join the conversation and point me towards more learning opportunities.