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:

twitter_stats

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

I’ve not updated here for a week, but have been quite busy elsewhere.Teachmeet 08 North tn

After reading Neil‘s announcement of teachMeet 08 North, I popped over to the ScotEduBlogs Wiki and started a new page: TeachMeet 08 North for folk to join in the fun. It looks like it is going to be a great event, over 50 edits on the wiki page on the last two days shows a deal of enthusiasm for TeachMeet.

I bumped into Suzie Vesper while following Ewan‘s ULearn07 adventures in NZ on twitter. Suzie hads a great wiki: educational software and web 2.0 which covers nearly everything I’ve heard of. After a few tweets this morning, I’ve started adding an Adobe Flash page to the wiki. Hopefully it will be of some value, the rest of the wiki certainly is.

Flash  eg

Coincidentally, I’ve become involved in another flash project; as I was invited to join the Teachers sharing their work with Flash blog.
Teachers sharing their work with Flash centres round the work of Geoff Dellow. Geoff has done an amazing amount of work with flash in schools. He tells me he is retired but he has certainly not slowed down (a quick google will tell a lot). Geoff promotes the use of flash 4 in primary schools and provides free over the phone tutoring for teachers. I first met Geoff at SETT before it was The Scottish Learning Festival. He had children creating animations in flash at his stall which had me hooked.
I hope I manage to do some work with flash again soon so that I can share it on the blog.

Yesterday I went to Glasgow’s Concluding Masterclass Conference. As usual with these meetings I really enjoyed meeting and chatting to other ict enthusiasts from Glasgow schools. As far as I know few Glasgow teachers have joined the edu blog world so I often know more about other athorities than I do about my own! I am not implying that glasgow don’t send out information or share practise but more that if it dosen’t have an rss feed I often miss it;-)
It is sad to think this will be the last time for this gathering.
Neil McDonald who led the Glasgow Masterclass team and Glasgow’s ICT programs announced that he is leaving the authority. Between Masterclass and Neil I have had a great deal of support over the last few years and will certainly miss both. Neil has always made it easy for masterclassers to put together a proposal for funding with the minimum of form filling and always answered overlong emails from me promptly even when I imagine he had more important things on his laden plate.

At the conference in the morning we heard reports of various interesting projects, my pal Marlyn Ross is supporting a team of cross sector E-Specialists Teachers, which sound like it is having a serious impact. One of her specialists D. McAleer (sorry I can’t recall the first name, David?) gave a wonderful talk about how he is a smartboard convert, taking us through his progress and finishing with a biology lesson. His presentation was funny and informative and I guess his classes are great fun.
We also heard about Shawlands Learning community Digital imaging project, again cross sector working with pre 5 to primary and primary to secondary transitions, the secondary pupils making a dvd to help primary pupils moving into secondary and primary 6 pupils working with pre five children in creative ways. Input from video professional seems to have helped. Jacque Crooks and a pile of confident children from the Shawlands Learning community presented.
We also heard of the Lourdes Mothership project and interesting online community including pupil produced radio and content and after school online help from staff. Unfortunatly it looks like the url works from within the Glasgow network only at the moment as I’d love to take a closer look.

Before lunch Mari Dougan of LTS gave a review of Masterclass and and update on glow (I just noticed that glow is the first hit for glow – Google Search).

After lunch various folk were presenting about their Masterclass projects, unfortunately I didn’t get to see any of them as I was presenting about Web 2.0 at Sandaig.

Hopefully I got across the main thrust of my argument. that blogging etc. is just a wee extension of normal classroom practise, display, assemblies, production of class newspapers ect. has always been at the heart of primary teaching, we just have a bigger wall display now.

As well as show some of the fun we have had blogging and podcasting over the last few years I talked about my approach to blogging and pointed to ScotEdublogs as a good place to start thinking about blogging. In a nutshell, I think you should start by reading blogs for a while, go on to commenting and then start whole class blogging, suing that to set the tone and expectations. From there the possibilities are endless.

It looks like I am going to be expanding on this theme at The Scottish Learning Festival (SETT) this year: Audience, Purpose and Conversation: the World Wide Display Wall. Now masterclass has closed I needed an excuse to get to SETT especially as there will be another edition of Teachmeet, presenting was the only surefire way I could think of.

Note: it is not all over for Masterclass the community lives online and is open to all

technorati tags:

elive seems to have got off to a great start, quite a few blog posts.

While I am waiting for them to turn up on ScotEduBlogs news: index I’ve folled with my own wee toy: taged eLive07.

It looks like teachMeet is going to have:

with lots of swapping chairs and showing each other’s stuff on laptops, rather than presentations. Much more relaxed than the last TeachMeet

says Ewan.

My message was going to be short anyway, I might just makes some flyers, here it is if I do not buttonhole you:

List your blog at http://www.ScotEduBlogs.org.uk

Tag your blog at http://www.ScotEduBlogs.org.uk

Link to http://www.ScotEduBlogs.org.uk

from your blog. Graphics avalible at the SEB wiki:

Don?t like the graphic, I don?t blame you, design your own share it on the wiki.

Spread the word, with RSS we GTD .

http://www.ScotEduBlogs.org.uk

We are also looking who can help us with a server for http://www.ScotEduBlogs.org.uk see Donations

Propaganda: encouraging readers or viewers to: “jump on the bandwagon”

E Live Banner

teach meet

I am quite excited, next Wednesday I am going to elive: Edinburgh’s Festival of Learning for the 21st Century.
I seem to spend half my blogging life reading posts about great ideas coming from educational conferences and feeling a little green.

Days out of school for inservice do not feature as much as they did a few years ago. I’ve been lucky enough to be part of Masterclass and am now a Glow mentor which has meant that I have managed to go quite a few interesting gatherings. I really feel that my teaching benefits by being given the chance to meet with colleagues and get exposed to new ideas face-to-face.

Last year I was talking at ELive and they have asked me back again this year. Whilst I am a little nervous to be talking to teachers rather than pupils I am really looking forward to going to other seminars and having a chat with anyone that sits still long enough.

I’ve usually found that the informal chat surrounding inservice events and conferences to be as much value as the events themselves. Last year’s elive was followed by an informal bloggers meetup (Photos) this developed into teachMeet06 at the Scotish Learning festival and now TeachMeet07
Starting at the Jolly Judge, between 4.30-7.00 for drinks and wifi. and moving on to Centotre, George Street, Edinburgh, 7pm-late.
Past experence and a look at the wiki means this looks like being a great night.

technorati tags:

Blogged from tm

I just caught up with the last Booruch which I forgot to load onto the ipod before going on the Netherlands trip and suddenly remembered it just before I left to walk to the shops.

David interviews Dave Cain who is behind the great Pencaitland Primary Blog. A lovely interview Dave C, a probationer, has embraced blogging with ease and confidence. Great ideas for using a blog with younger primary pupils. I am pleased that David continues to find scotEduBlogs.org.uk useful.

The gentle optimism of Booruch makes it my most regularly listed to podcast along the the frequently silly and useful Geek!Ed!.

Popping over to Booruch to grab the links I noticed David’s twitter:

Walked around the village with my class; sharing the task of aligning our map with satellites (GPS) as we produce our Mediascape.

It would have been nice to be in David’s class today.

Since the start of the holidays I’ve spent quite a few hours in Glow trying out some tools. I gave a brief account a few days ago and said I was not sure if blogging about glow was permitted, since then I’ve seen a good few posts tagged glowscotland so I guess this will be ok. Glow is also down at the moment so I might as well gather my thoughts.(That was Saturday, this is Wednesday Thursday, glow resurfaced after the weekend)

(star)The concept of having the tools free and safe for all in Scottish education is wonderful.
(star) The guides are clear.
(wish) I wish the software would work in the quick and simple way that many web tools do.
Read on past the more for more details…

Web Hosting

modify_shared_page.jpg

This first thing I tried was the Web hosting facility. This allows glow users to have a website which is either internal viewable only by glow members that you give permission to, or to be viewable to the world at large.
To get some webspace you first add the Web hosting part to your own glow page (My Glow). To do this you open a Modify shared Page section on the page. Browse the Web parts available and then add a Web Hosting – Web site management part to your page. This is a wee bit clunky if you are used to Ajax driven web 2.0 style pages, but it doesn’t take too long. Once you have a Web Hosting – Web site management part on your page you need to click the Request a Web Site link in that part.
This takes you to a page where you choose the size of your site, decide if it is going to be public or not and if not which glow members will be able to see it. I choose a public site and named it ‘john johnston testing…’ which was not a good idea.
you then need to wait until the request is granted, this seems to happen on the next working day. My first site did not work due to the spaces and periods in the title which become part of the url. Unfortunately spaces and periods were not listed as problematic chars, I also wasted time by not checking until I had uploaded pages to the site. I set up another site and then set it up
To set up a site on glow you need to create the web pages, images etc and upload them via your browser.

glow_web_manage.jpg

The process for uploading files is pretty primitive as you can see from the screenshot above (although the final page will look better once it has a stylesheet.).
I uploaded a file without trouble but I would not like to have to set up a site with several pages and images.

The Webhosting Quick Start Guide was clear and easy to follow but the actual process was a bit too clumsy.
A user with the know how to create a website would be better served by uploading it in a more standard way.
A user without the know how would be better using something like Google Page Creator.
I realised later that I had set the permissions for the page I made to be internal to glow, so I went back into the management and set it to public. The url for the site changed and I cannot open the new or the old page. This might be due to the fact that this is a pilot and we are not supposed to connect to the public at large.

Video Streaming

I was very interested in this, at Sandaig Television we have run into a few bandwidth problems. Glow allows you to upload streaming video and then make that public. I am hoping to use that to show the children’s video on the school blogs via reference movies.
Again the Quick Start guide was simple and easy to follow.
again you need to add a webpart to your glow page to list your videos. except it doesn’t actually list your videos just provides a link to the page that does. What is interesting is that you do not upload your video through glow but with an ftp application. So I did. It looks like the video is then moved swiftly to another location as your ftp folder is always empty.
After uploading a video you can edit the clip information through a page linked from the list of videos:

edit_video_clip.jpg

This was pretty straightforward although as you can see from the screenshot I got a bit muddled setting a target audience, I choose teachers then decided to add my own (test) submitting the form gave an error. There is a url for the clip you upload to share. Unfortunately the first video I uploaded gave a 404 not found error, I tried again and then headed for the feedback discussions where got some extra information on how to set my video to work for streaming I followed this but it still did not work (this time a -5408:timedout error). I’ve posted feedback and emailed support so I guess I’ll hear more after the holidays.

Overall the video streaming looks like a great idea, the instructions are clear if not completely straightforward but the process suffers badly when compared to uploading video to youtube

Glow Chat

I’ve not used this yet except to join an empty chat room, once set up it looks like a fairly standard java inside your browser chat with moderation.

Glow Meet

This is the best tool I have tried so far and I’ve only tried it for an hour or so. Hopefully we are going to have a wee bloggers meet later on today. Tessa has covered this tool well in her blog: Glow ?Chat? And ?Video-Conferencing? and is instrumental in setting up the meet this afternoon.
Again the Quick start guides are clear and easy to follow, I had no trouble setting up a glow group and a meet. Again you need to do all the rather clunky add webpart stuff.
While this is not video conferencing as I know it (full screen tv, moving camera) I is a great tool set with a lot of possibilities for teaching and learning.
update: I’ve now spent a couple of hours inside a Marratech conference with some familiar folk from various Scots Edu blogs. (Mr W covered the meet).
Nearly all of the tool we tried worked well, and it became clear that this would be a powerful tool for leading an online presentation allowing others to put in their 2 pence worth. After there was 8 or so folk in the room the various webcam feeds slowed down quite a bit, I wonder if these will be much use in practise. (It might be an idea to turn this on and then off which will give others in the chat a still of each participant and see who is talking). Again audio feed was clear most of the time if everybody keeps their headphones plugged in and avoids feedback. I do not know if this will be set up so that a moderator can turn users audio up in the final version of glow, but that might be handy. We should have another chat early next week to learn a bit more about the tools.

Discussion Forums

These should be one of the most potently useful parts of glow. The ability to set up discussions for groups and to connect to others interested in the same area.
Setting up a discussion in a group is easy, click on the discussions tab and then on New Discussion. You can also alter some of the feature of a discussion, but I have not seem I have taken part in a few of the feedback forums and in one test forum set up for a purpose Educational Shareware, there are quite a few test discussions going on but by using the feedback ones and the shareware group, I hope it gave me a feel for the real thing.
Unfortunately I have found navigating the discussions very clunky. lots of scrolling and clicking, neither of the two views let you read and respond with out a lot of clicking.
It is hard to follow discussions that you have started and taken part in, as there is not ‘my discussions’ or even a search. There is no recent discussions list either so to see if a discussion has be updated you need to dig down into the various threads. The date on the threads is not the date that the last addition to the tread or sub thread was made.
I really hope that this can be improved on by the time the portal goes live.

Conclusions

The concept of glow is wonderful. In my opinion at the moment the workings and interface needs some work.

  • FTP to upload video not websites, one file upload could be better handled in the browser than multiple files with multiple destinations. I’d swap that one around.
  • The overall navigation is quite complex, I frequently get lost and bob back and forward. The fact that you cannot record were you have posted to in discussions is a problem, as is the fact you cannot search or see recent discussion.
  • Setting various things up is difficult compared to most Web 2 stuff and especially AJAX techniques, the interface for adding webparts is clunky.

Given that this is a pilot and the problems I list are to do with the interface rather than the concept Glow is looking promising.
These are my opinions, no one else’s. To be taken with the usual pinch of salt.

I’ve not blogged about ScotEduBlogs.org.uk for a while now, but I use the site every day.

The site got a bit of a face lift today, Robert fixed up my latest effort at design and put it to work.

I started adding a bit of information about the site and how to use it to the ScotEduBlogs Wiki a while ago, but there is a lot more to be done before the current features are adequately explained. I hope to do some more on the Using_ScotsEdublogs page over the Easter break. If you are so inclined you are more than welcome to add to the wiki too.

At the moment the features of the site are already more than many in the ScotsEdu world will use, but as the number of blogs grows and the discussion get more diverse they will be invaluable. It is worth taking a look at the Blogs page where you can filter and sort nearly 300 ScotsEdublogs. The site also creates rss feeds for the list of blogs you filter, so you can make a set of blogs to your liking and then follow them with your RSS reader.

Robert Jones and Peter Liddle have even more sophisticated features in the works (some are documented on scotedublog – Google Code wiki, and should move to the main wiki soon. some are discussed in the scotedublogs_devel Google Group).

A request

  • Visit the wiki, search for your blog if it is not there add it.
  • Check the tags your blog is tagged with, fix them up to your liking.
  • Blog about the site. Add a link to your sidebar, you can pickup a snippet to ad a logo from the wiki Community page.
  • If you like make a better link logo, add that to the wiki.
  • Help out with the wiki, make feature requests, quite often Robert has added a request of mine with in the hour.

The reach of this blog is not far but if you read this pass it on and ScotEduBlogs.org.uk and Scots Educational bloggers will benefit.