A handful of children now have their Glow Blog username and password. These were sent home along with a covering letter explaining what Glow is and the potenial benefits of Glow blogs. Before issuing the passwords etc., the blogs were customised for safe use (well, as safe as possible without compromising on the gains).
The changes included:
- Ensuring that all the blog URLs began with cps (Carronshore Primary School) followed by the child’s first name and second initial of their surname – https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/cpsalysonm/ This gives a ‘uniform’ appearance to the blogs and associates them with an educational establishment (not just another social networking site that some children might be already using)
- The Headers were modified so that the school identity was prominent. I made these by uploading pictures made in weeworld (it’s for 13+ age group, but the children were not using the actual site – they logged on via a school account made by me and simply saved their avatars). I then uploaded them to Microsoft Publisher and saved the file as a jpeg. This was then uploaded to Microsoft Picture Manager and cropped and resized to the right specifications.
- In the Settings menu on the dashboard, the ‘discussion’ options were set so that all comments would require moderation before appearing ‘live’ on the blogs. It’s imortant to change the default ones to those shown here because in wordpress they’re set to “Comment author must have a previously approved comment” – a bit like a ‘catch 22’ scenario 🙂
- The blog Widgets were added in this order:
1. ‘Text’ widget – so that the children could add something about themselves that would stay visible on their blog even after the introductory post had been archived https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/cpsandrewf/
2. ‘Text’ widget – to link the blogs to http://www.scotedublogs.org.uk/ . Glow Blogs aren’t able to link to this site at the moment, but it’s being worked on and the issue will be sorted soon – fingers crossed 🙂
3. ‘Pages’ widget – I felt it was important to share our class Blogging Rules on their individual blogs.
4. ‘Archives’ widget – I learned from previous experiences of providing children with their own online spaces that it can be difficult for them to understand what has happened to posts they’ve been proud of – and suddenly they seem to disappear because they get archived.
5. ‘Tag Cloud’ widget – Although I’ve activated this widget, I haven’t discussed its use yet with the class. I’m very guilty of not using it in my own blog – but have recently been converted to appreciating the value of tagging posts.
6. ‘Meta’ widget – I learned very early on that if you don’t activate this widget after changing Themes, logging in to your blog can be challenging 🙂
- I’ve already shared the class flickr account with the children. This was set up a few years ago (for a previous class) but will allow the children to access photos from home. The weemee characters are saved on our ‘class share’ area, but this can onlybe accessed at school.
- Google Reader helps me to keep track on what children are posting on their blogs. Subscribing to this means that I don’t need to check each individual blog to look for new posts.
Although there have only been a few class Glow Blog account logins assigned, I’m heartened by the results so far – especially from the boys. I’ll maybe need to re-think some of my original research 🙂
More thoughts to come …..
Thanks for posting this, hopefully you are on the crest of a new wave of Scottish educational blogging.
I’d be interested to know how you organised the glow side of the blogs? As I understand it permissions follow the permissions set in the glow group the blog is set up on. Did you create a group for each child?
Are the children moderating their own comments?
In our LA, any teacher can set up Glow accounts for the children in their class (not sure if that’s the same everywhere?). As I did this, I logged in as them and went in to each child’s ‘My Glow’ and added the ‘Glow Blog’ web part.
I then gave me (their teacher) access to the ‘My Glow’ area by adding myself in the members bit.
After that, I automatically received an email to say I was a member and was able to activate their blog. At no point was I asked about what permissions the children had for their blogs – I presume they’re administrators as well as me (that’s the same set up I’ve always had with individual blogs – edublogs and primaryblogger, so it suited me fine).
No Glow groups were set up.
The children moderate their own comments … but I receive an email everytime a comment is awaiting moderation, so I’m always checking them first anyway.
I hope all this makes sense??
I’ve just realised what you might mean by permissions, John.
Do you mean whether the blogs were visible inside or outside of Glow? I did see those options – and of course ticked the ‘visible to the world’ one 🙂
Are you using GlowLearn yet ?
Hw, notes accessed at home, absent pupils, parental involement etc etc
I’ve not used GlowLearn yet, Nick. I’ve been on a course about the benefits, though (that was a while ago – think I’d need a refresher course before I use it ‘for real’!)
Thanks for signing up for 7 minute talk at Falkirk 2010 TeachMeet. I’ll add my name soon – promise 🙂
Thanks for the explanation. Quite a lot of work on your part.
Here (North Lan) all the pupils have accounts created, they are then provisioned by schools asms (usually office folk) who pass on account details to teachers.
I guess ’cause the children ‘created’ there own blogs in their my glow, they are admins.
I was wondering about this:
which maps glow permissions to wordpress ones.
But you have avoided all of this by using children’s my glow ( seem to recall some wordress permissions stop users uploading images).
Thanks again for all of the information. Are you going to be at SLF?
Yes – it did take some time to set them up 🙂 I should add, though, that asms would normally do that here too, but because we’re quite new to glow, not all schools have appointed one yet. The choice was given to individual teachers who were keen to get started.
‘Ve not asked about slf yet – but might as well chance my luck. I’ll let you know 🙂
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I’m a little late to this discussion. But was inspired by Margaret to get started. Like John my pupils have been using glow for a while and I can’t log in as them as their passwords are theirs. It does sound like a lot of work and as the SCA at my school I don’t fancy doing that for everyone! i would like to teach my pupils to set their own blogs up but worried about spam etc as I want to have them open to the world for comments.
I have to say that i’m not even finding it easy to set up my own at the mo but assume I will get there!
The Glow staff at SLF weren’t really able to answer my questions and advised me to ask you Margaret! so if either you or John have a minute I would greatly appreciate it. thanks
Yes, I see what you mean about the work, Shirley – but I was starting from scratch, anyway, making their Glow accounts live, so setting up the Blogs at the same time made sense.
What you could do, I suppose, is show the children how to put the Glow Blog web part in to their ‘My Glow’ area. They would then add you as a member of their My Glow (via Advanced Settings). That’s going to have the same result as I did – without the need for you to log in as them.
Let me know if this makes sense 🙂
As far as I know pupils can’t set up public facing blogs. So they can only set up private or glow only blogs.
” Public (Note: Can only be selected by Staff, Site Collection Administrator and Administrator.)”
A workaround is to get the children to create blogs (They need to have been given permission by ASM), and send you the url to their my glow. Then logged in as SCA you manage the blog and set to public. You could set up a links webpart in a class glow group where the children could add their urls. Using SCA account is necessary as your account can’t access children’s my glow, unless SCA gives permission. Children can’t manage members of own glow.
(I’ve just briefly tested all of this.)
Thanks a lot for all the tips. It all does seem a lot of work-I’m now thinking of trialling a class blog and giving each child a named category.
I had hoped that Glow would encourage those who hadn’t yet tried blogging etc as it would be easier but think a lot might be put off.
Well it’s early days I suppose and at least we would have the safety net of glow rather than the sometimes uncertainty of Edublogs!
Can’t quite see me changing over my school blog yet! ( I put in the URL) We decided to go pro with that and the best feature is that parents can subscribe and get an email when there is a new post. Not sure yet if that can be done in Glowblogs?
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