I’ve not posted anything about the Scottish Learning Festival or the associated TeachMeet here. I did do a quick audio review of my two days SLF 2013 on EDUtalk and am starting to post tmslf2013 audio at EDUtalk too.

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:

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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.

Seb View

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:

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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.

Republished due to a wee bit of bother with the backend of my blog.

At the weekend Robert added a new feature to ScotsEduBlogs: ScotEduBlogs Professional

ScotsEduBlogs exists to help educational bloggers across Scotland to find each other and to talk to each other.

It has been created by members of the blogging community, and is kept up-to-date by its users (that means you!), who can add blogs and tag blogs.

It also allows anyone to keep up with what is being said across all Scottish educational blogs at a glance.

You alway could subscribe to a set of blogs via ScotsEduBlogs RSS feature, for example ScotEduBlogs tagged glowscotland or physics but these are RSS feeds. Now there is a page for professional blog posts, separate from class, pupil or teaching blogs. This could be used for cpd or just to keep an eye on other teacher/consultant/whatever blogs. If you visit SEB less frequently you will be able to see the ‘professional’ posts less chance of them being buried by class blog posts.

Recently with twitter coming to the fore as a way of keeping up with online community there have been new Scots Educational bloggers who have not added their blog to SEB now might be a good time to do so. If you do and you consider yourself an educational professional be sure to tag your blog Professional.

Sebbloglisting

Glow Blogs

There has been an influx of new blogs since glow has added blogging to its toolset. Unfortunately the glow blogs rss feeds do not play nicely with ScotEdublogs. They don’t play with glows own xml web part either.

There is a workaround, if you use FeedBurner to republish your RSS feed you can use that feed in ScotEdublogs. Feedburner is a google service now, you need to have a gmail account. You visit Feedburner sign in and fill in your RSS feed address.

Feedburner 1

Your RSS url will be the url of your blog with /feed tacked on the end, for example my test glow blog’s url is:

https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/nl/JohnJohnston/

So its RSS feed is

https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/nl/JohnJohnston/feed/

After I put it into Feedburner I get a feedburner URL for the feed:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/org/NCnY

This last I can use to add my Blog to ScotEduBlogs:

add_a_blog

If you are a ScotsEduBlogger please think about adding your blog to ScotsEduBlogs and remember to tag it Professional if that cap fits.

When I heard I was going to be working in north Lanarkshire one of the first things I did was to check ScotEduBlog’s list of blogs to see if there was much blogging activity going on, I found one: Our Lady’s High School.

in the few months I’ve been there I’ve heard of many more, but the other week I overheard my colleague Ian unblocking a blog, this turns out to be Mr Mallon’s Video and audio media part of Mr Mallon’s Physics Site which has a great url http://helpmyphysics.co.uk/. The site contains a pile of resources for physics and science including a podcast and video recordings by pupils. I has a listen to a podcast and pinged a mail to David Noble for the Podcast Directory his review says:

Very professional production from this North Lanarkshire teacher. Mr Mallon mixes a range of topics and approaches with humour and educational songs. Links to fun and helpful resources to enhance learning are provided.

I discovered a few more blogs this week when Robert Dalzell a North Lanarkshire QIO mailed me to ask if I’d have a word at the Modern Languages business meeting about blogs and blogging. He already has an example blog up and pointed me to euroblog from Coltness and Modern Languages @ Dalziel. I’ll be looking forward to getting into my comfort zone (not the mfl bit obviously) and talking about blogs.

If there are any other North Lanarkshire blogs out there please let me know.

Given the September weekend weather and having a cold I spent a lot of time the weekend in front of my computer.

I spent most of the time following up links from the Scottish Learning Festival and teachmeet and smoothing out some idiosyncrasies in the way that the Sandaig Primary website works.

I also spent some time thinking about ScotEduBlogs.org.uk and footering with my latest toy. This lead to the discovery of iPhone Navigation an example of a web interface for the iPhone, you can see it your browser if you do not have a phone. I was able to create a webpage that grabbed the RSS from ScotEduBlogs and present in using the iPhone Navagation design. I wnt on to discover iui – Google Code based on Joe Hewitt’s iPhone navigation work, iUI has the following features:

  • Create Navigational Menus and iPhone interfaces from standard HTML
  • Use or knowledge of JavaScript is not required to create basic iPhone pages
  • Ability to handle phone orientation changes
  • Provide a more “iPhone-like” experience to Web apps (on or off the iPhone)

I also got external links to work better. This ended up on ScotEduBlogs iPhone The pages provides a list of the latest posts on ScotEduBlogs which can be clicked to show the contents of their rss description, link etc. I gives in my opinion quite a nice way to keep up with ScotEdublogs on your phone, you just load the page in Safari. On the iphone you can bookmark a webpage and have it on your iPhone home screen I quickly discovered (thanks google & tweets from dalzinho ) that you can create a custom icon: How To Make iPhone Webclip Icons.

I’ve since discovered there is at least one other kit for creating iPhone ‘web apps’ WebApp.Net. I guess since the opening of the app store on iTunes the web app development has slowed a little but it looks like an interesting area t oplay in if you have not got programming ability.

Of course ScotEduBlogs iPhone is pretty simple, much simpler that the demo apps it is base on, just a basic rss reader, but it has me thinking if there are any developments that could be useful in school, I believe that some schools are buying sets of iPod touches for use in school and this might be an easy way to develop simple specific applications for them. It might be simple enough to create database/ key type pages for animal or plant identification. I also wonder if pupils could create pages for the iPhone/itouch, after seeing Neil Winton present about his pupils text based adventure game in a wiki The Caves Of Mull I wonder if something similar could be done for the iPhone?

On Ewan’s Invitation I toddled along to Inspiration Session No. 4: The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen. This was the second ‘open’ session and quite a few of the regulars from ScotEduBlogs were there in addition to LTS staff.

Ewan has given a rundown, LTS Inspiration Sessions: Run your own, on the purpose and content of these sessions over at connected, number 4 was on improving presentations. Ewan has gathered a pile of useful links on delicious tagged ltsinspirations4, Andrew Brown live blogged the session: Do your presentations suck? very effectively, and Tessa used it as an excuse to return to blogging after the summer.

This is the first post here for a while too, although I’ve been posting to posterous, tweeting and keeping my photostream uptodate.

The others have covered the meat of the session so I’ll just pick over some bones here (in no particular order and with little organisation).

As usual it was a lesson in itself to see Ewan present he is both well prepared and able to respond to the audience flexibly. He also kept things light with plenty of ‘jokes with a purpose‘ Having said that he was not following any of the simpler styles of presentation he discussed (pecha kucha and the 10-20-30 rule for example), most of his presentation, was video from the web, discussion and analysis.

The classroom at LTS was beautiful and great space for this sort of meeting. Unfortunately I could not find ant creative commons photos of the building or space on flickr although Ewan gave a quick but thorough overview of finding images and using them legally which is always good to hear.

Although I was familiar with most of the videos shown it is a very different experience watching with a group, without the distraction of, email, twitter, todo.txt or the fact that you have to make dinner. Face-to-face sessions like this are worth ten time the same amount of browser time, the presence of others sharing the space really helps concentration and other folks ideas spark off your own. Class teachers often miss this sort of experience of discussing things that are of interest and do not have to be acted upon immediately.

As a primary teacher I felt a fair bit of tension between the role of a presenter to adult audiences, Steve Jobs rehearsing his 2 hour stint 6 times, and my own efforts in class, speeding round Scran for pictures of Victorian toys in my 45 minute lunch hour and plastering them onto a powerpoint. Many of the ideas were applicable though, repetition (some of my wee guys need more than three times) keeping it short an too the point. Shared reading of text has more of a place in the primary classroom than more adult settings. One of my new sessions resolutions it to review my use of projector/whiteboard and Ewan and his audience has given me plenty to think about.

On the few occasions I’ve formally presented to adult audiences it has been talking about my own practise and I hope the passion and experience has let me overcome the hurdles of imposed format, poor graphics and instinctual rather than trained design. I’ve also usually been so nervous in preparing a talk I’ve distracted myself by using a different technology each time. Ewan challenged the group to end the session by working on one of there own presentations to be posted to slideshare for review. I skipped that part ending up in a huddle of ScotEdubloggers (Mr W reported a unrepeatable collective noun for teachers, I wonder what a group of edubloggers is?). A couple presentations I’ve given are here (voicethread) and here (enhanced podcast), the second proving my point about horrible dot mac urls at least. Both break a fair few rules of presentation but they worked for me I would like to have spent some time getting some feedback and criticism.

One of the subjects talked about in the huddle of ScotEdubloggers was TeachMeet08 @ The Scottish Learning Festival 2008 this is approaching fast, and some community organisation is needed, if you can lend a hand with organisation equipment, sponsorship of food and drink( or know a person who can) you should head over to the wiki.

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We also talked over glow, wordpress, exams etc. and transferred the conversation to the horseshoe to continue the informal CPD.

Ewan has provided an online kit for running your own inspiration session which unfortunately does not come with a Ewan. Thinking about the session yesterday I think the big takeaways were the importance of personality and preparation which to my mind are probably more important than the tools and design.

I should suggest that you get together with some colleagues, watch the videos and check out Ewan’s links and Andrew’s post I am only reluctant to do so because I realise that one of the key parts of that process would be the leader unless you can find a friendly huddle. Even alone the linked video, sites and tools will provide plenty of food ofr though.

I am still churning a lot of the ideas the session and informal follow up just in time for starting school next wee.

Many thanks to Ewan and LTS for inviting me to an inspiring session.

I just spent a few minutes at Sprout Builder which seems to be another way to build widget.

Sprouts are interactive and portable chunks of web content. Some people call them widgets, mashups or mini-sites but we just call them sprouts.

I have not really tested may of these types of service, but it only took me a couple of minutes to build a ScotEduBlogs feed widget.

It looks like you can do a lot more with sprout builder than just pull a feed. some of the examples include audio and slideshows. The sign up made me admit I was over 13 so not something for the classroom, but it might allow you to make something for you classes.

There seems to be a ton of embedding options, click on the share button to see them. You can add to facebook, myspace, iGoogle etc. or get an embed code for a post or webpage.

Feel free to embed ScotEduBlogs on your site, or better make a slicker one for the ScotEdublogs community.

Seb Header_448

The ScotEduBlogs site is dear to my heart. An opensource effort by teachers in Scotland to aggregate and redistribute the posting by Scottish educational blogger of all shapes, ages and sizes ScotEduBlogs has become an more than every day read for me.

At the Scottish learning Festival side dish TeachMeet07 4th Edition I made a plea for support for ScotEduBlogs. At that time it was being hosted by Jonesieboy, Robert Jones, who was also the main programmer of the site. I was approached during the dinner following Teach Meet by Joe Wilson of the The Scottish Qualifications Authority, who proposed that the SQA and Learning and Teaching Scotland should support ScotEduBlogs. Ewan who is National Adviser: Learning and Technology Futures at LTS was quick to agree.

To cut a long story short; ScotEduBlogs has now moved to its very own server which should lead to (and Robert will correct me if I am wrong) more stability, better updating etc, etc. The SQA and LTS logos now sit prettily on the ScotEduBlogs sidebar.

It might take a few days for ScotEduBlogs to settle into its new home, so if you notice anything strange let us know.

If you are a Scots Educational blogger you can do your bit to support ScotEduBlogs too:

  • Make sure your blog is listed.
  • Make sure the tags on your listing describe your blog.
  • Link from your blog to ScotEduBlogs (there are some images and help on the wiki).
  • You might want to help out by designing a new graphic or in other ways, see the wiki again.

As well as just reading the front page ScotsEduBlogs can be used in lots of other ways:

  • The front page has an rss feed.
  • On the Blogs page you can filter blogs by tags and get a rss feed for your tag or set of tags.
  • You can even follow the ScotEduBlogs tweets on twitter.

See the wiki for more ideas.

As there are more and more ScotEduBloggers ScotEduBlogs will become more and more useful as a learning tool, enabling you to get ideas that you might not pick up through your favourite feeds.

TeachMeetPerth - a photoset on FlickrYesterday evening I was in Perth courtesy of Krysia who kindly give me a lift to and from Glasgow through a fair amount of fog.
We were there for TeachMeet 08 North. T oget the idea of how good teachMeet is think how far you would go for some cpd on a Tuesday Night. The ScotsEduBlogoSphere had come from far and wide. None further than Ian Stuart of Isly High school who had set off at 8:30 am to get there.

As the event was set up the Sandaig macbook was pressed into service to run the flashmeeting which brought in an audience from further afield, I think I spotted Sinclair and Joe Dale in there. Flashmeeting is an amazing service, it is increadable that with a standard macbook and a wifif connection you can broadcast watch-able quality video and sound. The macbook was attached to Mr W’s snowball mic, I think it could get used to having such a great piece of kit attached to it. This meant that I could not tweet microblog the presentations which on a little refection was probably a blessing for my followers.

The meat of the event were the Seven minute micropresentations chosen as is becoming traditional by electronic fruit machine. The presentations were great, it always shocks me finding out how much I do not know about teaching with technology.

Ian Stuart kicked off telling us what’s been happening in Islay High School. I heard Ian at the SLF where I was amazed at the radical way the school is transforming teaching.

At teachmeet Ian focused more on the umpc technology the children are using, the power of these tiny devices is amazing. Small devices were a bit of theme at the meet, Asus minibooks, PSPs and other wee computers dotted the audience and dinner table.
I was lucky enough to be sitting with Bob Hill who leant me (or did I just borrow) his Eee PC with which I could watch the flashmeeting meaning Tess Watson‘s voice was in sterio until I found how to mute the sound.
These small pcs look like being the vanguard of a realistic one2one program. (and according to Robert Jones a possibility of getting Linux into schools). I would take a very long blog post to cover all of the ideas that came out of the 2 and a half hours of presentations. Hopefully the presenters will take a leaf from Nick Hood and blog their presentations, Nick’s is unusually in the comments to his teachMeet post. It is a great comment, (and one of the few where I’ve felt Snap shots has been useful rather than annoying) well worth following the links.
I would be great if the presetator tweeted there posts @TeachMeetPerth which would provide a nice aggregation..

A presentation I really enjoyed was Sarah Duffy‘s talk about her class’s http://midsummerdreaming.wikispaces.com a great project. But I really enjoyed them all and await the blog posts..

I talked about OpenSourceCPD more of which when I have more time at the weekend. for now I’ve put my comicLife slides, OpenSourceCPD on flickr. My TeachMeetPerth set is up too.

All in all another great teachMeet well up to the high standards set by previous events, all credit to Neil for organising, arranging and MCing.

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TeachMeet08 - Location
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

Tomorrow after work I am of to TeachMeet 08 North curtsy of a lift from Krysia. Organised by Neil Winton and with a great line up of speakers I am really looking forward to the evening. Not often you can say that about cpd;-)

By the looks of the wiki everything is in place, space, projectors and an enthusiastic bunch of web 2.0 teachers.

If you cannot get along to teachmeet David Noble has organised a Flash Meeting so you can get some of the fun in your browser as it happens. The Meeting for TeachMeet08 BETT went very well, it was easy to hear and see the presentations.

I hope to be spreading word about scotedublogs.org.uk again, this time by passing out wee flyers. I am also hoping my name comes up for 7 minutes of fame. The presenters at TeachMeet are chosen by electronic fruit machine and get 7 minutes to talk.

Last time I was up first, ran through my talk in 5 minutes but still managed to secure sponsorship for scotedublogs.org.uk. The results of this will hopefully be apparent soon as scotedublogs.org.uk will have its own host, making it even more powerful!

This time I hope to talk about OpenSourceCPD for the first time. More about that here after the event.

If you are going to TeachMeetPerth either in the flesh or in the Flash Meeting or just want to keep in the loop remember that you can follow teachmeetperth on twitter, teachmeetperth will tweet all the posts tagged on technorati and hopefully provide a backchannel on the night for tweets @teachMeetPerth.

I am looking forward to meeting everyone in person or online

I think I only managed one blog post over the christmas holidays. I did tumble 8 times, post half a dozen links to del.ic.io.us and do a fair bit of tweeting.
I didn’t read my RSS reader at all. I was a bit busy putting together a non-educational site, incorporating flickr, youtube and blog streams, I wish I could use video and flickr on our school site in the same way.

Last night I opened my reader and basically just marked all as read, I didn’t feel too bad as twitter had been giving me as much reading as I could deal with, lots of links for various edu (and other) bloggers and of course I subscribe to tweets from Scotedublogs which kept me up-to-date with my fellow Scots. I don’t know that I’d like to rely on twitter all of the time but it gave an interesting tilt to things and another tilt back tonight when I opened Vienna.

There seems to have been and explosion of twitter tools and addons using the and one nice one is Twitter Stats this is a perl script which you can run from the terminal in OS X and a numbers template to paste the results into after the perl script copies them to the clipboard, here are my twitter stats:

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Coincidentally today my class were doing a little charting of there own surveying the communication tech they have at home as far as I recall this show a huge increase since last year.

Blogged from tm