Tag Archive | edublogs

Glow Wikis, ePortfolios and Longevity

At time of writing my case study, I decided not to dictate how the children should use their individual blogs. During the research period, I contacted Jackie Marsh  – and she agreed (I gained permission at the time to quote her):

“I have had a look at the blogs and they are great! I like the way you are
letting the children drive the use of the blogs, that is so important if they
are going to be successful. “

She also mentioned how we were using them on a post on her own blog at the time :

“I am speaking at the BFI ‘Reading on Screen’ conference for teachers tomorrow and although my main aim is to report on the evaluation of the very successful BFI ‘Lead Practioners Project’, I do want to highlight the potential that blogs have for disseminating children’s film productions and facilitating their peers’ critical comments on the films. I was contacted a few weeks ago by Margaret Vass, who is a Primary 7 class teacher at Carronshore Primary School, Falkirk. She told me about the excellent blog she has set up for the children in her class – I really like the children’s ‘WeeMees‘ and love the Voki posting developed by Bethany…blog on, Carronshore Primary 7!”

Bethany’s Voki on edublogs blog is missing now – what a shame 🙁

At the time, all of the Primary 7’s interviewed their parents so that they could write about their early years (as part of an autobiography).

Luckily I can still access the Vokis. Bethany’s is here:


Issues of this sort of thing happening have been discussed on this blog previously.

I still remember the unfortunate incident that led to the decision to transfer the children’s blogs from learnerblogs to edublogs. Edublogs chose to have all new blogs, including pupil blogs, hosted at edublogs. It was made clear that all existing learnerblogs could, if chosen, remain where they were. Around the time of this announcement, however, spam comments began to appear on a few of the children’s blogs. Email alerts usually ensured that these were deleted promptly. On one particular occasion, though, one was noticed by a pupil in her comment moderation queue when she logged in to her blog. Unfortunately, it contained very inappropriate content.

It was a lot of work moving the children’s blogs from learnerblogs to edublogs …. and then edublogs let us down.

Recently I’ve  spent some time reflecting on the journey to give children a more stable online environment and I revisited this post and a thought-provoking comment from David Gilmour

“This is a good topic to debate, thanks for spending your Saturday night doing such a detailed post!

I’m really pleased that Marc got such a good audience for his writing.

Another aspect to this, which cropped up this week for us with the demise of Bubbleshare.com, is the longevity of Web 2.0 services. Inevitably there’s an element of risk in using these free services, and we’ve accepted that. For the schools involved, we’ve had a lot of useful learning – and fun – from it. The slideshows will vanish from the sites, but they’ve probably served their purpose and copies of the original images will still be on disk in the schools.

With portfolios that are needed long-term, though, we’ll need to be careful to take such risks into account.”

Now that I’ve finally set up some ePortfolios with the class I have now, I’m hoping that  Glow will provide the stability we’re after.

And if it doesn’t – at least we’ll be sure to back up all the files as using the new Glow Wikis means that there’s no need to host content elsewhere.

Check out Anna’s ePortfolio – hopefully it’s just the beginning 🙂

Secondment – Half Way Thoughts

The first half of my 23 month secondment as an ICT Support officer is now over – and it went by in a flash! I think I spent most of it ‘finding my feet’. The courses I provided were a mixture of ones that were either:

  • in place before I came in to post
  • developed to meet the needs of particular schools
  • added by drawing on tools and activities I had used previously in my own classroom practice
  • devised as a direct result of having heard of their existance via my twitter network.

Like last session, I plan to prepare CPD activities (just one of a number of remits) by introducing teachers to the available online tools I learn about via twitter. Courses on using tools such as Xtranormal or GoAnimate  were  well received last session – and I would not have known of their existence if it hadn’t been for the sharing culture I’ve become accustomed to by following my fellow ‘twitterers’.  More and more useful free online tools are becoming available at such a fast pace that it’s hard to keep up. Next session, I have some new ideas planned – but this post will concentrate on just one :

Blogging with Classes

The best find I’ve discovered for next session is a new blog host to recommend to teachers here. I came across it via an email a colleague at work received. When I took up this secondment post, I had been using edublogs for a couple of years. There were little annoying things like the slowness, and the occasional unexpected ‘down-times’ .. but it was free and it was under the umbrella of  ‘education’ so it served my purpose. I’d also used eduBuzz to host a blog that I wanted to set up to compliment our photaday project adventure – and this led me to have the confidence to set up pupil individual blogs thanks to David Gilmour’s expertise 🙂

The following year, I managed to successfully set up individual pupil blogs via edublogs. At the time, they recommended using learnerblogs for pupils. The blogs were set up in such a way that I had equal administrative rights on each pupil blog, and comments needed to be moderated before appearing on a blog. This set-up worked well for a while. During the course of the year, however, learnerblogs were no longer supported by edublogs and advertisements began appearing on the pupils’ blogs. Annoying spam comments also began to surface on a few of the blogs.

One weekend, however, I noticed a disturbing comment on the class blog. It was from one of the primary 7 pupils. Monica wrote:

Hey i really enjoyed Crucial Crew it was great fun. Please would you visit my blog as someone has left a comment i dissaprove of. I dont knoe who it is. It is quite rude.
Bye x

When I investigated her blog, I was horrified to find that the comment was extremely offensive … so much so, that I immediately deleted her blog  – a decision made in haste. I spent the rest of the weekend setting up edublog accounts for the children and, on the Monday, I demonstrated to the class how to export all the information from their learnerblog accounts and import it in to their new edublogs one. I also explained how to activate the Akismet plugin and gave them a necessary API Key to enable it to work.

All went well after that, and I successfully completed a case study on my experience of giving the children in my class their own online space – and when I started my secondment post, I had no problem recommending using edublogs as a free blogging platform for other teachers in the Local Authority. The recommendation was short lived, however, when inapproriate adverts began appearing on the edublogs class blogs. The only solution was to sign up to be an edublogs supporter. It doesn’t cost a lot, really, to make a blog ad-free, and you can add 30 more blogs (a class set?) to that account so that they’re ad-free, too.

But there’s a catch ….. being ad-free is all they’re entitled to. There’s no option on these blogs to add any plugins – so Monica’s ‘extremely offensive’ spam comment could be repeated again and again … much more disturbing than just an annoying advert!!

And then it happened .. PrimaryBlogger to the rescue!!


I’ve already moved the Carronshore edublogs class blog over to Carronshore primaryblogger.

Cassie and primary 5L/W did a fantastic job of keeping it going last session. Next session, Evelyn W – our school art specialist (and my Chartered Teacher buddy), will use it to allow the Carronshore pupils to display and discuss their artwork.

 I plan on providing three twighlight sessions:

  • A ‘taster’ session to introduce participants to the world of blogging with classes
  • An introductory session on how to set up a class blog
  • A third session to explore activities and available tools that can be used to take class blogging further

I’ve also (very quickly and easily) set up some ‘training blogs’ that can be used during twighlight sessions. These are shown in the screenshot below. Everyone will sign in to the main falkirkcpd blog, then scroll to their allocated blog on the dashboard. I’ve set 10 up, with the idea that participants can work through activities in pairs.


I’m off now to work on ideas for giving children space on a wiki so that they can build up their own ePortfolio. Thanks to Jaye for introducing me to the concept …. via twitter of course 🙂