Tag Archive | Glow blogs

Assessing Our Glow Blogs

 From Jack’s first blog post in August this session, I was optimistic that the class would make use of their online spaces.

Jack’s post was very short and to the point.

He wrote: 

“Hello mighty world ( that’s full of random people watching me on my blog ). Watch and see what happen’s because im full of good ideas.”

The class have now had their Glow blogs for less than four months, but a lot has happened in that short time and I thought that I would write this post as a reminder of the direction we seem to be going in.

I made the decision to allow the children to have complete control over the content of their blog posts. I was aware of how much more successful this approach is compared to directing the children to write about specific subjects when I carried out a case study of my use of blogs a couple of years ago. 

I am also satisfied that the children (and their parents/carers) recognise the responsibilities of having a blog and that they all understand the reasons behind our ‘Blogging Rules’.

These are embedded in a page on their blogs as a reminder.

Their blog posts have been very varied – some about the school Reading Scheme  , others on the subject of achievements outside of school,  or a family holiday.

Of course, there have been the inevitable football posts! Some just show random pictures , and a post from Kian about Falkirk Football Club Matches received 8 comments …  I’ve no idea of the significance of them (apart from the first one, of course!). Football has, however, inspired some super blog posts like this one from Andrew . Although Sean is a reluctant writer, he was motivated to write a great blog post  about his first time at a big football match – and delighted at the encouraging comments from teachers in other Authorities. But this comment from Jade caught my eye:

” Well done sean,you have won my post of the week Competition,you might win again next week,if other people do a better one well you will just have to do another one but it is fine because you can win more than 3 times in a row!”

It alerted me to the fact that the children were actually reading each others’ posts. New blog posts were also appearing to back this up:

“Hello!,welcome back to the best post of the week! HERE is a link to the winner’s blog. The winner is Lewis with his post about Admivore,with an astonishing, 7 comments! he was tied with sean but he had more in his post! sorry sean, the finalests were Brooke,Anna,Lucy N,sean Lewis,natasha,Ryan R and Mason,they were all great this week so it was hard, but only one person could of won sorry everyone!”

One of the posts that was voted as a ‘winner’ was by Natasha. She had been off school recovering from an operation on her foot. It was a great way for her to keep in touch with her peers, and there are 16 comments on the post now. At the end of the post, she mentioned how much she was going to miss not being able to go on our impending trip to the Glasgow Science Centre:

“MY mum say’s I probably wont go on the trip D: because if I cant walk then I cant get to school therefore I cant go on the trip D: and if I cant then please DONT tell me what happened because if you do I’m gonna feel REALLY bad because I didn’t get to enjoy it but I hope everyone has a good time if I don’t make it”

As a result of her writing that post, the school:

  • Contacted the Science Centre and arranged for a wheel chair to be available for her
  • Phoned her mum to ask if she was available to accompany Natasha on the trip
  • Arranged for the janitor to pick Natasha up at home and drop her off at the bus that would take us to Glasgow and then meet her off the bus again to drive her home (mum doesn’t have a car).

What a nice way to end my assessment of our Glow blogging so far … Natasha was VERY pleased she’d written that post and she followed it with a Thank You to all her classmates:

“Ok i’ll start off with Thanks peeps for all the comments. I really appriciate it!!! Ive read all of them and trieing to reply to them.  Anyway WOOHOO I can go on the trip tomorrow!!! YAY The janny will drive over here then drive over to the bus. I will then limp/hop into the bus then sit down when we get there (BTW my mum has to come) and I hop/limp into the science center. Theres a wheelchair I sit in it and my mum wheels me around!!! Thanks Guys!”

There have been some great benefits to our Blogging Journey, but so far this response to one of the Glow blog posts has been the ‘icing on the cake’ 🙂

Rambling On About ePortfolios Again

I’ve been pondering what needs to be done to create long-lasting ePortfolios for my class. They are in Primary 6 at the moment, and I need to be realistic and assume that the chances are that their Primary 7 teacher won’t  be as involved as I am with their individual blogs – or any ePortfolio set-up.

Last session, while on secondment, I spent a few afternoons with some Primary 6 stage children and set up wikispaces for them. I wanted to gauge how appropriate they would be if used as an ePortfolio.  

Jaimey was very keen to keep hers going, and continued to add bits and pieces to it in Primary 7, but with no teacher input, her interest is waning. The ideal scenario (for me, anyway!) would be that there was an Authority-wide strategy in place to promote the advantages of  creating ePortfolios and that appropriate CPD opportunities were made available … ‘blue sky’ thinking 🙂

The image on here links to Jaimey’s wiki.

But other issues need to be taken into consideration when planning to build ePortfolios. I initially chose wikispaces because the service is free and I liked the way that they looked (I’m referring to the sidebar menus).

However, when I first investigeted ePortfolio Portability and Longevity Issues  on here, David Gilmour  commented:

“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.”

I understand what David means and I envy the eduBuzz blogs set up. But, as we don’t have something like this in place in my own Local Authority, I thought that wikispaces , a great ‘web 2.0 service’ (can I still use that phrase?) seemed like a good alternative.

This session, however, I’ve set up Glow Blogs for all the children in my class, and I have been pleasantly surprised at their enthusiasm so far. Until recently, I thought that the best idea to build ePortfolios was to create a link from their blog to a wikispace with a set-up similar to the one above. But I’ve since thought about creating a ‘Sticky’ post with links to other areas in their blogs where they can record achievements, etc. New blog posts can then continue to be published as normal below the ‘Sticky’. The idea is that their Glow Blog becomes a ‘one-stop-shop’ where they can update with reflective posts, but have an area to formally record successes (although there will still be links to a wiki, where some children have enjoyed updating stories over a period of time. Have a look at the joint effort by Brooke, Natasha and Eilidh ).

I created a Trial Blog and set it up with the relevant sections. The Sticky post shown in the image links to  HERE where I’ve set up areas for them to record achievements until they leave Primary School. The idea is that they create links to High School stages (and beyond?)

I exported the information from the Trial Blog as an extended RSS file and imported into the children’s blogs. I had a bit of a dilemma as to whether or not to open up the links from the ‘Sticky’ post in a new window. I worried that if I didn’t do that then visitors to the blogs who were not used to such online spaces (parents?) might get lost and not be able to find their way back to the homepage. After seeking advice on twitter, though, I decided that the best solution was to open the links in the same window and add a  ‘Back to my Home Page’ link on the sidebar.

The class can choose from 3 link designs –  all they have to do is copy the html code into a text widget. I’ve saved the code into a word document, but they need to change the link from the trial blog to their own.

I’m sure they’ll manage 🙂 

In this example the link will go to Declan’s homepage, even though the original image is stored in the Trial Blog. 

<a href=”https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/cpsdeclanw/2010/11/16/welcome-to-my-eportfolio/”><img src=”https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/carronshoretrial/files/2010/11/home-button-1-150×150.jpg” title=”blog home” /></a>

Here’s the three choices.

Thanks again to David Gilmour  for his patience when explaining how to do this!

The sidebar pages widget transfers with all the correct information and the links go directly to pages on the children’s blogs, but the actual posts links still transfer back to the Trial Blog. I’ve remedied this by creating a couple of class ‘experts’, who then teach others how to fix the problem. This is still on-going ….. but if anyone knows of an easier solution, please get in touch.



This post has been a bit of a ramble, but I’ll finish with a reminder to myself of what I believe an ePortfolio to be. I don’t think something like this could be built in a hurry anyway 🙂

Back to Basics

1. What is an ePortfolio?:

  • It’s a collection of student work that tells the story of the student’s efforts, progress, or achievements 

2. What should they look like?

  • There should be evidence of self-reflection

3. What’s the teacher’s role?

  • They need to plan carefully to provide clearly defined criteria 
  • Effective feedback should be given to students, to encourage them to observe their own learning journey

4. What about the pupils?

  • Comments should go beyond “I think I did OK” or ” I think I have more to learn.”
  • Pupils should be monitoring their own learning so that they can adjust what they do when they perceive they are not understanding.

An Important Message For Primary 6V!!

snow viewToday is our third day of being snowed in! It must be very exciting for all of Primary 6V and I’m sure you’ve all found plenty to do outside in the ‘Winter Wonderland’ 🙂

As we are now off until Monday, I’d like you to find the time to either:

1. Write an account of how you’ve spent your three days off school


2. Write an imaginary story about a Snowy Winter Wonderland Adventure

You can write on your Glow Blog, on a new page of your Wiki (this might be best if it’s a story you want to add to later), or you can write on paper if you prefer that or if you can’t get access to a computer.

We’ll read them all out in class  when we finally get back to school!

snow journal

Another great idea is to log in to Aberdeenshire’s super Snow Glow Group. There are lots of great ideas for things to do while you’re off school because of the bad weather. For example, there are links to help you create a Winter Comic Book, or advice as to how to become a Winter Nature Detective. Just click on the Snow Journal icon and log in with your Glow Blog username and password.

Leave a comment on here if you need any help, or if you manage to complete any of the activities 🙂

Meanwhile, though, Dylan has returned home from Lanzarote (he must have been surprised to see all the snow here!) and he’s begun to write about his holiday on his Glow Blog. I hope he adds more soon. Charlotte has also written about her trip to New York last week…. and Andrew has written a great post about his brother’s exciting football news!!

Click on their weemees to take you to their Glow Blogs. Please leave a comment for them 🙂

Andrew's Post    Charlotte's Post    Dylan's Post

Pondering Our Online Spaces


In my previous post I revisited my Chartered Teacher dissertation where I’d mentioned research by Stern (2007) who found that in her study, the main audience for young people’s blogs were the authors themselves and that they were self reflecting as they tested out different versions of their current and possible identities. She also found that they were continually testing out other audiences too, and that they were hungry for peer approval.

The Primary Six children in my class certainly value getting comments on their blog posts. For the first few months, it was common for every post to end with a, “Please leave comments!” plea, and I’d occasionally ask my twitter followers to oblige them 🙂 The children were undaunted by this … until Andrew received a comment from Dairmid , a 9 year old:

Hi Andrew, I Am Nine too and i play football on saturday but for a diffrent club ,maybr we could become freinds and date a playday

In class the next day, Andrew told me that he’d received a suspicious comment. He was worried that it was from an adult pretending to be a 9 year old. I was able to reassure him that it was from Catriona’s son – we’d had a discussion about it on twitter and she’d mentioned that Dairmid had left the comment 🙂

 I found this interesting, though, as three years ago it was the adult comments that were more difficult for my class to accept as this quote from my dissertation shows:

“The third adult comment resulted in much excitement. The children were unexpectedly bewildered by it, and had difficulty coming to terms with how the blogs were discovered by this teacher. Although all the children were aware of search engines, and had personal experience of using them, they still could not quite grasp how this visitor had stumbled upon one of their blogs. Visiting children, on the other hand, did not surprise them at all”

I’ve set up our Glow blogs so that I’m able to track who is commenting on the children’s blogs, and recently I’ve become aware that the majority of the comments are coming from the children themselves as the image here shows.

Other changes are taking place as well, though, because I’ve noticed that the class are now beginning to reflect on each others’ posts. They’ve begun writing about a ‘competition for the best post of the week’. Jade’s example of this can be seen here – more of these types of  ‘lets look at what others are writing’ posts are continuing to make an appearance.

I was worried that the children’s motivation to blog would begin to wane if I couldn’t provide an audience for them, but it seems that they’re happy enough to have their peers as their audience when it comes to comments – maybe Stern was right 🙂

 Stern (2007) also mentioned the importance young people attach to personalising their online spaces, and how they prepare them with careful attention to detail.

It might be significant that the change to a more class community feel to our blogs coincides with the fact that I’ve allowed (and shown) the children how to customise their Glow Blog Header image. As usual, a few ‘experts’ are emerging and they are helping others to upload images successfully. Three Header images that I like are ones that mirror the children’s interests.

Jade loves her pets.

Charlotte is really into frogs!

Jennifer is adamant that she is the biggest fan of Rubber Ducks ever 🙂

Last night I began with the intention of writing about three topics, and even uploaded some images to help guide me through the post. Unfortunately, I’ve only managed one of the topics because I keep getting sidelined by what’s happening on the blogs. Here are the three topics – one down, two to go …

  • Audience   (managed that!)

  • Assessment (via Glow Blog Posts)

  • ePortfolios (development update)

I hope I find the time to write up the other two topics before I get waylaid again 🙂

Blogs, Wikis and Emergent Writers

 I mentioned in my previous post that I was surprised at the unexpected lengthy pieces of writing on the children’s Glow blogs and wikis. I’ve been using the same strategy that I adopted previously when I carried out a case study for my Chartered Teacher studies –  my dissertation  has the details, and I’ve had a closer look to see if I can come up with a formula (I’ve looked at some of the professional reading that helped to convey my thoughts at the time).  

Three ingredients jump out:

1. Content  – The freedom to choose

  • Lafferty (2004): “To develop an online community requires a more student-centred approach with the tutor transforming into a facilitator from ’sage on the stage’ to ‘guide on the side.” 
  •  Marsh (2007) proposed that by enabling children to create blogs based on their own interest, valuable learning opportunities might be developed
  • Buckingham (2008) argues that through using the new media, young people are learning primarily by means of discovery, experimentation, and play, rather than by following external instructions and directions
  • Stern (2007) also found that in the absence of audible or visual cues, young people often feel less inhibited, a sensation heightened by the experience of crafting messages in front of a computer screen, frequently in the privacy of their own room or other personal space. She claims that authors possess more control over the impressions they give than they do in offline spaces, since they make all the decisions about what to reveal, omit, embellish, or underplay. 
  • Wenger states that the school is not the privileged locus of learning. It is not a self-contained, closed world in which students acquire knowledge to be applied outside, but a part of a broader learning system. The class is not the primary learning event. It is life itself that is the main learning event. 

 2. Comments –  Creating a sense of audience

  • Stern (2007) argues that the main audience for their blogs was the authors themselves and that they were self reflecting as they tested out different versions of their current and possible identities. She also maintains, however, that they were continually testing out other audiences too, and that they were hungry for peer approval
  • Davis and merchant (2006) believe that the perception of an actual or imagined audience prompts us to think about what we wish to show ……… an audience to whom one is presenting a particular narrative of the self

3. Sharing – New posts shared offline (in class), tends to influence other – sometimes typically reluctant – writers to add posts to their own blogs .

  • Godwin-Jones (2003) explains that blogs and wikis offer powerful opportunities for online collaboration for learners. He states that the encouragement of peer to peer networking and buddy learning is central to a constructivist learning approach,
  • Dissertation quote – Sharing the stories that the children wrote on their wikis provided ideal opportunities for formal learning to occur.  The stories were  written at home, usually in instalments. It is clear that the children often went home and improved parts of their stories after having heard them read aloud in class.  
  • Owen et al, 2006  believe that there is significant potential for the development of new approaches to education. There are changes in our understanding of practices of creativity and innovation – from the idea of the isolated individual ‘genius’ to the concept of ‘communities of practice’, where reflection and feedback are important collaborative processes.

But there’s a fourth ingredient that came in to play during  the case study period and that was the importance of ‘Role Models’. At the time I was interested in gender differences and I noted that my class were very aware that some of the  The AllStars girl bloggers seemed very skilled writers. This encouraged the girls in my own class to improve the quality and quantity of their posts. The boys, on the other hand, had no such role models. The AllStars teacher Kim P contacted me at the time because she was aware of the same gender differences:

  •  “Girls seem more word oriented evidenced by their blogging stories, commentaries etc; whereas boys tend to prefer visual (and less text oriented) ways of expressing themselves. Maybe boys prefer to talk and show how to use an application, rather than using application for personal reasons.”


 This time around the gender balance has changed, though. It’s the boys who tend to write more on their blogs and wikis – and the Role Models are in our own class 🙂

  • Andrew enjoys writing blog posts. His wiki story is looking fantastic, too.
  • Kian started this story as a blog post and it’s now 6000 words long. He’s been continuing it on a Word document and it’s being saved on a memory stick until it’s finished (we’ve had a lot of discussions about copyright and I suspect he’s protecting the idea until it’s published). 
  • Jack has been writing a hilarious story on his wiki. It shocked me at first, but I can’t wait to read more. What do you think? Jack’s Story

Now more reluctant writers are beginning to add lengthy posts. Four stand out for me:

  • Sean wrote a great account of his first experience at a  football match. I don’t think he’d have been this inspired in class. It’s here 
  • I’m impressed that Ryan was motivated to write this post in his own time.
  • Dylan’s post made me smile and I want to know more about his knowledge of Falkirk Bus Routes.
  • Lewis is very proud of his post about his holiday to Aviemore

 More to follow about the girls’ writing 🙂

Getting To Know Primary 6V

weemee cubeIn Primary 6V, we all have our own Glow blogs. You can find links to them HERE . If you read them, you’ll find out lots of things about what we do inside and outside school.

This post is about some of the books we like to read. We like our new reading books so much that some of us decided to write reviews about them on our Glow blogs.

You can check out Anna’s review on a Margaret Ryan book by clicking on her weemee anna . She gives it 9 out of 10, so it sounds like a good read 🙂

The book that Mason has just read comes with a warning that it contains some strong language but he still recommends it for Primary 6 stage. Have a look at what he has to say by following the link to his blog post about it mason .

The third book review is by Natasha. She gives her book seven out of ten – but she doesn’t give too much away just in case you want to try reading the book for yourself 🙂 . Check out Natasha’s review by clikcking on her weemee natasham

If anyone out there has read any of these books, we’d love to hear what you think about them. Leave us a comment and let us know if you agree or disagree with our reviews … and check back often to read about what else we write about on our Glow blogs.

Glow Blogs.. Wikis.. Stories … and ePortfolios

I’ve been going on a lot about how the class are using their Glow Blogs. For example, at the  TeachMeet at this years Scottish Learning Festival my presentation focussed on them. I spoke about them again at the more recent Falkirk TeachMeet …. and I’m constantly mentioning them on twitter (the examples below are copied and pasted from my twitter account and were added there as I discovered them appearing on the top of the list of new Falkirk posts

It’s also great to see that some children who don’t normally enjoy writing in class are beginning to voluntarily write posts on their blogs from home. After receiving some encouraging comments (thanks to my ‘twitter’ colleagues!), they’re writing follow-up posts, too. The children love to have their posts read out in class and often the first thing they say in class is, “I’ve written a new post. Can we read it out to everyone?”

And there was the incidence when Lewis very quietly asked me to read out his latest blog post. No-one in class knew about his gran, and I think he was glad that he was able to mention it via his blog post (he whispered that his mum had said it was ok to share it)

“I have a gran called Ann and she was in strathcarron hospice with cancer and she had allot of medicine. She was in strathcarron hospice for four weeks but at the weekend she died on Saturday night.  Her funeral is on Thursday and I was sad when she died and I am going to miss her very much.”

I was a bit worried when I began using Glow blogs, and before I introduced them to the class I wrote a Wish List post. One of my main concerns was that the children would be frustrated that they couldn’t easily embed slideshows, etc. in to their posts. I think that it does irritate them a bit, but what has happened is that they’ve had to concentrate on the written word. This has led to some unexpected lengthy pieces of written work that we’ve been able to share in class (and subtly learn from?).

 Recently, though, there has been a turn of events. This came about as a result of writing letters to the local Bookbinders Tom Valentine’s in Larbert. The class wondered if they could be shown what’s involved in turning a story they’d written into an actual book. There was great excitement on Thursday when a reply came from the Bookbinders saying that they would visit us and look at some of our stories. The reply also included the children’s letters in a beautiful leather covered book with gold lettering (it’s at school but I’ll take a picture soon and include it here).  Valentines are going to bring along some of the equipment used when binding books before they’re published. 

The class have already begun planning the stories they want  (hope!) to be published. Some want to write individual stories and others want to work in a small group – but what concerns them is how they’ll access stories at home that have been begun in class .. and vice versa. We discussed  using Microsoft Word and saving the stories on to memory sticks – but none of the children have one. Another option is to write on their Glow blogs and save the entries as a Draft post.

It was at that point that I had the idea of setting  up a wiki for each of them. They were set up in a hurry on Friday – I’ve used them previously with classes so it didn’t take long! I only had a few minutes to ‘sell’ the advantages of having a wiki and to describe how to access it and use the various features.

I’ve noticed that Andrew has already added pages to his wiki. It’s looking great 🙂 http://cpsandrewf.wikispaces.com/

What’s even more great is that he seems to have sussed out how he’ll use Glow blogs and his new wiki (another step towards an ePortfolio?)

Hi everyone! Welcome to my wikispace. I am going to use this for a lot of things. The main reasons are to have fun and to write my stories on. To view the stories I am going to write you will have to go on my stories page. I have a glow blog which is awesome so I think this will be awesome! I am looking forward to writing on this. I don’t really know what to write, so see you! Remember to look at all my pages daily!

I’m looking forward to sharing how he’s used his wiki in class tomorrow 🙂

Glow Blogs and ePortfolios?

 At the beginning of this school session, I set up Glow Blogs for my class and wondered if they could form part of an ePortfolio. Our Glow Blogs have been up and running for less than four weeks, so they’re a wee bit away from being ePortfolios yet 🙂

I talked a bit about them during  TeachMeet at this years Scottish Learning Festival last night, and today I’ve been pondering how the (9/10 year old) children have been ‘settling in’ and getting to know their new online spaces. Tonight I took a quick whirlwind tour of the blogs so that I could get some sort of overview of what’s happened so far.

 These are just some of the significant learning experiences to date:

Establishing the Purpose (a couple of first posts – setting the scene for their blogs?)

  • Hi people of earth. This is my first ever blog entry. I am going to use this blog to tell you all about what I do inside and out of school. Please comment!!!
  • Hello mighty world ( that’s full of random people watching me on my blog ). Watch and see what happen’s because im full of good ideas.

Learning about Copyright (a difficult concept, but lots of class discussion about it seems to have paid off)

  • I got all this information out my book Horrible Histories The Savage Stone Age but put it in my own words.
  • My friend Kian sits beside me at class.I am going to tell you some of his ideas.WARNING:The fowlowing section of writing is COPYRIGHT as it is Kians.
  • Earlier today Anna+Robyn used the DJ Earworm song Like OMG Baby. So i just went to DJ earworms site and lokked and looked and looked but nothing so i commented and asked if we could use it with all music credit going to him but he need’s to E-mail back so im waiting!!!

Becoming Familiar with Blog Layout (wondering what happened to the post he’d written just previously?)

  • My first AR reading book was by David Orme …. Look up to see the 2nd book I read.And by up I mean on the compuuter not the roof or sky!

Awareness of Audience (asking for comments – or just ‘talking’ to a perceived audience)

  • So far I have had LOADS of comments on my blog! I would like to thank all the people who left comments. If you see a post and you think of something that describes it or something to improve it don’t hesitate to comment
  • I dont have alot of comments so plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz plz leave comments
  • Okay we did max in the middle today but i cant tell you about it because it’s Alisdairs turn on the computer so ill update you laterz!!! BTW Alisdair is my little brother

Blog as Vehicle for Communicating  Difficult Thoughts (Lewis doesn’t usually share information in class and mentioned quietly that he wanted this post to be shared with his peers)

  • I have a gran called Ann and she was in strathcarron hospice with cancer and she had alot of medicine. She was in strathcarron hospice for four weeks but at the weekend she died on saturday night. Her funeral is on thursday and I was sad when she died and I am going to miss her very much.

I’ve included my Prezi presentation from last night here …. thanks to Fearghal for his help with the setting up (I nearly mucked up!). Thanks, too, to all the other ‘behind the scenes’ people who made it …. despite my stressful state …the best TeachMeet experience for me so far. I came away with loads of ideas to investigate further.


Glow Blogs Update .. Take 2

It’s  been couple of weeks since I issued the class with their Glow Blog  usenames and passwords (actually it was a phased programme, so some have only had theirs for a week). In that short space of time there has been a lot of activity. I’ve  been surprised by the way some of the boys have taken to their blogs. Andrew and Kian have written some great posts – and Jack’s ‘Hello Mighty World’ post really made me smile 🙂

The reason that I’m surprised at the way that the boys in the class have taken to the blogs, is because my research from a couple of years ago pointed to the fact that the girls were much more reflective and the boys preferred to upload pics, etc. This is not the case with this particular class. The girls are the ones who are keen to express themselves via slideshows, etc. The dissertation was a Case Study, though, and only looked at my (then) P7 class. Although at the time, KimP  commented that she had found a similar trend with her own class

“…….The Vokis and Animotos are visual – like the prevalence of pictures on the boys blogs. I’ve noticed that the boys in my class also are really good at making topic related vokis and animotos.
In my experience, girls use these applications in a different way – more about how they see themselves, or want to see themselves; as opposed to the boys filling these applications with topic specific pictures and content.

…..PS Girls seem more word oriented evidenced by their blogging stories, commentaries etc; whereas boys tend to prefer visual (and less text oriented) ways of expressing themselves. Maybe boys prefer to talk and show how to use an application, rather than using application for personal reasons. Don’t know? Not sure”

Including slideshows in their Glow blog posts is proving a bit of a challenge as only certain sites can be embedded in to Glow Blogs. I had originally hoped to get round this by using Photostory3 (now available on all our school computers) and uploading these to Vimeo, but, although I can access Vimeo in school, I can’t log in to upload anything (and the children can’t access it at all when logged in to the computers). After a LOT of experimenting, however, I’ve managed to find some sites that do work and I’ll show these to the class tomorrow via a trial blog I set up. I’ve also just noticed that some of the girls have already found a way to include slideshows – but I suspect that they’ll soon use up the 100mb storage limit if they continue to do this (I’ll also need to disappoint them by pointing out that they can’t use pop music on their slideshows unles they’re sure the have permisson – I have explained about images, but didn’t think we were ready for the music just yet!)

What hasn’t changed, though, is the delight when comments are received. ‘Audience’ is clearly a very important part of their blogging. We’ve had to be careful to log out before leaving comments on posts, however, because surnames automatically appear (I could solve this by changing each of their Glow profile pages, but I just don’t have the time!)

Keeping track of the blogs is relatively easy as I use Google Reader, but I’ve noticed that if you visit the Local Authority Glow blog, then the most recently active blogs move to the top of the list.

Up until now, the class have been ‘getting to know’ their online spaces and just learning about how they work. Last week, I introduced them to linking to each others’ blogs or to any online webpage, and next I plan to explain the benefit of tagging their posts. I plan to let them grow organically as, if they’re going to withstand the test of time (and to eventually become part of an ePortfolio), the children need to feel ownership of the spaces. I was surprised, therefore, when they came up with the suggestion of using them as a learning log for their class project. Andrew blogged about this – and has already had feedback from his new PLN 🙂

“Hi again! Today at school Mrs V gave us all a Learning Log. A learning log is when you get given something to find out about. It can be anything from finding out about food to finding out about magnetism. Most of the time you get a week to do it. We were lucky though because you normally have  to do it in a big jotter but we got to do ours on our blogs! Since our topic is on Australia my learning log is about Sydney! If any of the AllStars check out my blog could you please leave comments telling me a bit about Sydney! So heres my learning log…”

But I think that the biggest advantage of having given the children their own blogs, is the difference it has already made to the classroom climate … and the insight I’ve had to the children’s interests and personalities after having only been with them for such a short time. More on this to follow ….