Public vs. Private – Should Student Work Be Public On the Web? | The Edublogger, When I started blogging with my pupils, the whole point was to be public. Recently, I've been involved in setting up e-portfolios with hundreds of pupils and the idea we are missing a trick by making these private is always at the back of my mind. In North Lanarkshire, where I work, there has been a recent flourishing of use of glow blogs, but a lot of the public ones are written to by staff as an adjunct to their school website. I wonder if this will develop to more pupil publishers? I also notice that now blogging is much more widespread that many using them are not involved in the social aspect of blogging: commenting and reading other blogs. The are perhaps being used more for communication with parents and the local community?
I've been doing a bit of iPad screencasting of late this is a good guide on how to do it. I use Airserver and screnflow rather than the applications Ben Rimes use but the process is the same, Ben's scren cast is in a competion at the monet so if you want to help him win give his youtube the thumbs up. How To: Screen Record Your iPad - ScreenChamp Finalist 2013 - YouTube
Recently we have had quite a few guests on Radio EDUtalk who have talked about or been interested in open badges1. As I've blogged about before I am not completely sold on badges for learning but I am interested enough to want to try them out is a small way. Unfortunately I don't have any pupils to use a guinea pigs. I therefore though it might be worth a wee experiment on EDUtalk badges.
A little googling lead me to davelester/WPBadger, A lightweight badge issuing platform built using WordPress and I've installed the plugin at EDUtalk. After installing there are a few different additions to the dashboard:
In the settings there is a WPBadger Configuration section where you set up an email that will be sent when a badge is awarded.
The Badges section is where you create Badges, these look like custom posts. They contain a description and an image.
There is an Awards section where you award the badges by creating posts.
It took me a few attempts to get to a system that seems to work. I had to use the github.com version rather than the one in the wordpress plugin repository. I also made a few mistakes setting up badges, you need to limit the description string to long and then had single quotes in a description. Once I had changed that things began to work.
I've not tested the system to any great extent, Robert Drummond kindly helped, but it seems to work. I don't think I'll award badges willi-nilly to all our previous guests of contributors, but please get in touch if you have been a guest or contributed audio if you want me to send you a badge and help testing the system.
It looks as if setting up a badges system is pretty simple for teachers who have access to a wordpress blog they can install plugins in via FTP and pupils or learners with a mozilla backpack.
1. Shows where guests talked about badges included:
I went along to the High School of Glasgow this evening for TeachMeet Tablet 2. Work and traffic conspired to make me pretty late and I had missed the first set of presentations, arriving in time for the round tables.
At the last minute I had volunteered to organise one of these, on workflow, handing out work and gathering it in on iPads. I demoed showbie and we had a chat about some edge cases and how these could work.
After that we had some more presentations:
Sally Foster talked about using one iPad in class, with more ideas than I could take notes for. I liked, in particular, the idea of a the teacher moving round the classroom and showing pupil work on the smartboard via Apple TV (you could use a computer and AirServer too).
Paul Casey showed some apps for teacher workflow, Planbook, Gradebook, HanDBase, and iBooks (and Author). All of these apps look as if they can help with teacher planning and organisation.
Both Sally's and Paul's presentations were of interest to anyone with an iPad, you didn't need to be in a 1-2-1 classroom to get some great ideas.
David Muir then started what looks like a long term view, over several teachmeets at the SAMR moodle. Using iBooks he too us from substitution to augmentation, demoing some nice features of the iBooks app an a few minutes.
My own presentation was the last. I was showing an example of using several different apps in a row do preform a task. I've found myself often doing this in iOS and noticed in classroom visits that primary pupils seem to pick this up naturally, more so perhaps than with traditional desktops.
I've seen this referred to as app smashing or chaining, I prefer the idea of a playflow, having fun with a series of applications. (I do not want to smash or chain anything up). Here is a quick and dirty screencast of the process I demoed, the only difference was at teachmeet I recorded an audience produced series of croaks as an audio track to the final movie.
This particular flow is adapted from one shown to me by my collegue Ian Sorensen.
Here is the process.
Starting in Safari, use morguefile.com to find a copyright free photo.
Save to Photo Library/Camera Roll
Use superimpose to save a 'mask' with a transparent background.
Saved To Photo Library
Explain Everything: Import background then add image with transparent background. Create recording of image moving across background.
Export movie to Photo Library.
Open in iMovie for further editing.
I was delighted to see this tweet linking to a video today, showing I had at least a little impact:
For the last few weeks I've been kicking the tyres of the new MS 365 glow. It is not without its teething problems, although these do seem to be getting found and fixed. Education Scotland seem confident that everything will get sorted but we have not had much indication of how long it will take.
The Glow Migration Update from Bill Maxwell, hints that the Local Authorities can take their time moving into 365 and new services will be rolling out:
This means authorities will be able to ensure, that together, we create the best possible experiences for Glow users, matched to their users’ needs.
The services and applications required to support this will be rolled out in partnership with local authorities. This will include the opportunity for any blogs, wikis and other services which local authorities want further time to consider to be uploaded.
There is a lot of work being done in getting the 365 site to work well for education, designing ways to aggregate content and build learner experiences. The one interesting place in the new glow so far is the LearnCat site, which is full of activities,
Scottish learners - you can learn to create, make, build, bake, grow, collect, code, tell stories ......and more
This is exciting stuff. It is hard to tell how this will work out until we have a lot of learners in the 365 glow, but to me, the concept looks great.
I think the main problem with the old glow and the new 365 service is its size, a bit of a behemoth, hard to change and adapt to particular circumstances. A lighter weight and more flexible solution might suit conceprs like learncat better?
I think there are some great ideas for taking glow forward in the way Bill Maxwell wants:
we create the best possible experiences for Glow users, matched to their users’ needs.
The services and applications required to support this will be rolled out
(My selection from the Quote from Mr Maxwell above).
A forward thinking IT infrastructure (which would be fairly loose, fast, and cheap using open standards of syndication) would work to connect these various individuals into a network, creating serendipitous connections that taken together reflect the rich tapestry of who the people are that make up any institution.
There’s a reason I keep finding novel uses for these trailing-edge technologies. I see them not as closed products and services, but rather as toolkits that invite their users to adapt and extend them. In Democratizing Innovation, Eric von Hippel calls such things “user innovation toolkits” — products or services that, while being used for their intended purposes, also enable their users to express unanticipated intents and find ways to realize them.
Jim goes on to say:
This is exactly what UMW’s Domain of One’s Own is philosophically grounded in. Giving every student, staff, and faculty their own User Innovation Toolkit so that they can fully understand the principles of the web. Interrogate its limits, and extend its possibilities.
To build a cyberinfrastructure that scales without stiflling innovation, that is self-supporting without being isolated or fatally idiosyncratic, we must start with the individual learners. Those of us who work with students must guide them to build their own personal cyberinfrastructures, to embark on their own web odysseys. And yes, we must be ready to receive their guidance as well.
The quotes above are from folk working in tertiary education, I am wondering if they could be adapted to schools. What if
Glow gave every learner and teacher in Scotland a domain. (Perhaps not at nursery, start with training wheels, at a certain point the wheels are taken off, 13 or 16 maybe). The domain could be kept for life. When a learner left full time education they could take their domain with them.
Glow added simple webhosting to it services for every user.
Folk could use something like c-panel to start up a new blog/wiki/eportfolio/whatever.
Glow was therefore open to using old tools in new ways.
This part of glow would not be one large application but lots of small ones that can be linked and aggregated in lots of ways.
Sounds a bit like glew.org.uk, it is a lot like Glew with even less centrality.
It does not preclude using 365, google docs or anything else. This would be a service that users would use their glow authentication to logon to.
I do not think this would need to be expensive. By using trailing edge technology, that is used all over the internet, this could be started fairly simply and grow if there was a demand.
Give teachers and learners in Scotland the opportunity to innovate. Much of the innovation in online education has not come from new applications, but teachers finding ways to use old ones in innovative and creative ways.
The argument in the current glow for not being able to add plugins or update the software for blogs (for example) was security and stability. By adopting standard webhosting, these problems would be to a large extent negated. Most webhosts can handle users doing daft things without the whole thing falling over. (I say this, not because I understand webhosting, but because I've done a few daft things as a customer). Taking things even further how would something like OpenShift, where it takes minutes to get a cloud application up and running, fit.
Why Not Just use the 'real' web
It has been suggested a few times that Scotland gives up glow, and teachers can choose to use any existing services on the internet. This might be fine if we all had access to use these services and they met with national and local security and data protection needs. As things stand we do not and there is not a level playing field across Scotland.
Who knows, the field would be open. Just thinking about blogs and RSS (and I don't think of a lot else), I've blogged ideas for using blogs and aggregating them a few times:
Glew Notes: FeedWordPress, this could perhaps be the holy grail for teacher struggling with the current glows e-portfolios: collecting all of your pupils post in the one place.
I've no real idea of how easy it would be to set up authenticated web and domain hosting for a whole nation, but give the time and money that has been put into glow as a large central service, it might not cost too much to provide a structure for a lightweight loosely joined corner of the web for Scottish learners and teachers?
Might it be that by being at the trailing edge, using tried and tested tools, thatost and risk might be low, but provide platforms for teachers and learners to innovate?
Charlie Love points to the CAS Scotland Conference, I am looking forward to going along.
the details of the amazing speakers and workshops we have lined up for the Computing At School Scotland conference on Saturday 26th October. This event isn’t just for secondary Computing Teachers. Those with an interest in technology and primary practitioners who want some support and ideas around technology and computing science are especially welcome.
It’s not too late to sign up! Go to http://casscot13.eventbrite.co.uk/ to get your ticket. If you have already signed up then please tell your colleagues in other schools in your area - please spread the word about this great event.
On Computing Education - The Windows Movie Maker Problem
Scottish, 14 year old pupil, Ross Penman gives his view on the state of computing education:
But what shocked me was the techniques being taught to create the web pages.
<font>, <big>, and <small>* tags, the align, border, and bgcolor attributes, jump links using <a name="">, embedding Windows directory paths in links to images, and, worst of all, the dreaded tables for layout.
We thought all of these techniques died out in 2001, but they are still being taught!
This works, although my colleague Ian who tested it with me suggested it was a solution in search of a problem, I am wondering if it could be used in learning?
Last week I was in a primary seven class lending a hand to set up e-portfolios.
As a distraction to leading 30 pupils through the many steps it takes to setup a glow blog as an eportfolio and as a way of introducing them, I usually talk about the pupils existing online presence.
“How many folk are on facebook?” got an affirmative response from half a dozen or so pupils. Not what I expected for other visits to other classes. I wondered aloud if they were kidding.
I then moved on to a brief survey of YouTube: a few channels, one pupil had an origami channel of 30 odd videos and another was part of a scooter group. This seems more 'normal' and we continued to setting up the eportfolios
Later on a pupil asked me if I wanted to know why no one used Facebook, of course I did: “We are all on Instagram.” And they were. Most posting from iPads, iPods, a few tablets, a couple of galaxies and one iPhone 4S.
I had a quick chat with the class, but didn't realty get a good overview of what they were posting. Only a few admitted posting selfies, maybe that comes later? Some post, 'what they are doing', some 'funny pictures'.
It leaves me wondering if a stream of photos (do they comment, use hashtags?), give the same benefits as Facebook. Are we becoming more visual communicators. It is obviously a different Instagram would that the one I inhabit troutcolor on Instagram.
This week another class, a different town, primary six, most everyone on Facebook, puzzled looks when I mentioned Instagram. Perhaps social media has arrived but is not evenly distributed.
One of the three things I talked about in my 7 minutes at teachmeet was the new ScotEduBlogs site. I posted plans about this here, ScotEduBlogs Evolving a while back. The new site is now running at the old domain. It seems to be running fairly smoothly with a fair number of posts pulled in so far:
I particularly love the zero spam comments. Although the new site is a blog there is no opportunity for commenting, clicking on titles of articles directs you to the original post.
So far I've kept the them very minimal, just using the standard Twenty Twelve theme, with a few adjustments in a child theme, the main one being the ability to toggle the amount of text show for each post. I'd expect some folk just to want to scan down the titles, clicking on the ones that interest them, this will open the original post in a new tab.
I'd be happy to get advice on this or any other aspect of how the site runs.
We have refocused the site on professional blogs at the moment, to see how it holds up.
I've also installed the jetpack pluging mostly for the mobile theme:
Please Join In
If you are a Scottish educational blogger and you are not listed please Add Your blog. Please also spread the word if you know any other Scottish educational bloggers who might like to join in.
FeedWordPress a glow wish
As you might know, glow, Scotland's national intranet is undergoing a refresh at the moment. I believe a new wordpress provider is being commissioned, I really hope that the new service will either alow us to install our own plugins or includes the feedwordpress plugin too. This pluging powers the aggregation at ScotEduBlogs. This would be a wonderful tool for glow. Teachers could aggregate all their pupils eportfolio onto one blog, schools could aggregate posts from their class blogs onto a school one. I also hope they are going to enable the MetaWebLogAPI that allows posting from mobile apps, this is sadly missing from the current glow blogs.
OpenShift Online is Red Hat's public cloud application development and hosting platform that automates the provisioning, management and scaling of applications so that you can focus on writing the code for your business, startup, or next big idea.
What that means is you can easily and cheaply (first 3 free), set up websites with applications. It is pretty geeky for a teacher but there are plenty of instructions, and they work.
I gave it a quick test last week and managed to get a 'server' up and running with etherpad is short order: Etherpad Lite. Not sure what I'll use that for, but I can delete it and start something else if I get to the max of 3 apps.
Slightly more useful, on an email list I am on someone asked how, using iPads, could a set of pupils construct a resource with a map and pins with images, text and video. I though this could be done with
Wordpress a plugin and google maps. OpenShift allowed me to test this very quickly:
Set Up a new app
Added the MyGeoposition plugin
Added some posts and used the plugin interface to add positions to these posts.
Knocked up a quick google maps page to display the blogs RSS, which now had geo info.
OpenShift made it practical to turn a bit of simple blue-sky thinking into reality.
I am not suggesting that everyone should dive over to openshift and start playing. You need a slight friendship with the terminal, at least have heard of ssh and git (I've used ssh a we bit setting up the piratebox and a raspberryPi, heard of git). If you do, the possibilities for trying things out are wide open.
If you going to the Scottish learning festival this year I would like to invite to contribute to EDUtalk.
EDUtalk is, among other things, an open to any contributions podcast. EDUtalk started at the Scottish learning Festival in 2009 when David Noble and myself invited any of the attendees to submit audio to a podcast SLFtalk (lost when posterous stopped). We were trying to provide alternate sources of information and reflections about the festival and make it as easy as possible for people to both contribute and listen to the contributions of others.
This year given the ubiquity of personal mobile devices is even easier to contribute to EDUtalk.
Here are three simple ways:
Audioboo an application for both iPhone and android, Audioboo allows you to record short segments of audio and upload then to the Audioboo site. If you tag the 'boo' #EDUtalk they will be brought in automatically to the EDUtalk site.
Just record some audio on anything a computer on smartphone whatever you got. Then you can email it to email@example.com and we'll take it from there. There are usually a few computers on the floor at a SLF that are connected to the Internet many of these will have built-in mics it should be pretty easy to record something there and email it to edutalk.
Another app you can use is a ipadio, this is an app like audioboo – available for android and iOS to record audio and sent to ipadio. Again if you tag it #edutalk we'll pick up automatically and post it to edutalk.
So what do people talk about. You could talk about a session you been to. A keynote. You could talk to a colleague or friend.
You can have conversations with anyone about anything educational, at the coffee bar , in a quiet corner. it can be about whatever, educational, topic you like. Your thoughts we want them.
With the huge changes going on in Education this is a chance for us to join in the conversation, to talk across boundaries, of local authority, of hierarchy and think about what really matters today.
This is my personal blog, opinions are my own and not those of my employer (the blog is produced in my own time). My opinions are not set in stone, I frequently change my mind, make mistakes and contradict myself.