We got back from our Netherlands 2007 trip this morning after a rather tiring drive through the night.

I think we made a pretty good fist of blogging the trip and I am beginning to think about what went right and what didn’t work so well with the way we handled the blogging, I might have better thoughts once I’ve had a good night’s sleep.

The main focus of the blog was communication with the parent and it certainly hit that nail on the head. The reaction from the parents and from the children when I read the comments on the buss proved that.

But I am starting to think of other possibilities:

The trip was not really designed for the children to do written work, our timetable is packed and I was relying on volunteers to try posts during the bus journey. This meant not every child was posting and the posts were pretty much the first thing that the bloggers thought of.

It might be possible to build in some whole group reflection time where diaries and blogs would be kept uptodate, but we would not want it to feel like school.

Maybe we could have a blog/pod team organised on a room basis and give them a wee bit of time each day (maybe they could stay up a little later then they would not miss out other things).

An internet connection in the hotel would have been good, I posted shivering in the dusk from the town square with a t-mobile pay as you go wifi one evening, a cosy cafe was better the next night and I am afraid I had to shelter in Macdonalds on a third.

The Netherlands Moblog was a good idea, but unfortunately my kludge to get it working left no facility for comments, this could be a really good tool.

I made the firsts UK post and the last one via a bluetooth mobile, this worked very well and didn’t cost too much. I posted one quick post, one small photo and about 6 words, from the Netherlands and it cost about £4! I’d like to investigate getting a dutch sim for another time.

I lost my MP3 recorder on the first day, but even then it was apparent that the children really need time to think and rehearse even informal podcasts. Again time would need to be made for this if it was to include all the children.

We had another tech disaster when a card in a camera with a load of great pictures and video got corrupt. Very disappointing.

Overall I am quite pleased with how the web 2 aspect of the trip turned out (other aspects were good too) but it is really another scratch in the surface suggesting lots of ways to do it better.

Now all I’ve got to do is read a weeks worth of email I think I’ll leave my fed reader for tomorrow.

Over 10 years ago before I was interested in Web 2.0 technologies into the classroom, before we had the internet in our classrooms, when our school had 3 apple macs and a few bbcs, I was introduced to computers by my HT making me take one home for the summer. I found HyperCard and was hooked. I set about happily making toys for the children and tools for myself.

At some point ( ’96 or ’97) it was suggested that I could make some money selling these tools and toys and I set about sending A4 catalogues round all the primary schools in Scotland. If you were in a primary then you may have seen one of these ugly sheets (’98 example) I also had a website.

I never made my fortune, or even much more than my hosting costs, the site grew to be more of a SuperCard resource site, the range of software was reduced, the quality improved (I hope) and I added some freeware. Interestingly the only title that paid for the hosting was a worksheet maker (I can’t imagine why anyone would want such a thing now).

My favourite Rommy Robot never really was as popular as I expected. I have kept developing Rommy as I occasionally get an email asking me for an update. Today he reached version 3.0 beta 7 and became free.Here is my blurb:Rommy Robot is a child friendly screen programmable robot.

Rommy Robot is useful for teaching Shape, Position and Movement in primary mathematics and is a way of introducing young children to control technology.

This Beta will not time out, is universal and is no longer shareware, rommy is now free (donations accepted), no registration required. My idea for Rommy was originally as a replacement for our Rommar Robots which always had flat batteries when I went for them. I had not even heard of logo at the time! The application grew ( a bit as it is pretty simple) but the idea was it was like logo but slower. Slower so that children can see what was going on. The main game is a simple grid map where children can create mazes and run the robot through them. There is a simple interface for building commands without typing.

I’ve since made a flash version of the simplest game: Rommy Robot which some folk find useful or at least you can see what I am talking about.

I’ve now come to terms with not making my fortune, or even having the time to develop software and my interests are more to do with children publishing and creating. I’ve not even used rommy in my own class this session (I am not teaching maths). But I hope I have learned something form the process. In looking back at my old catalogue I noticed the blurb:

Software for Primary Education.

Designed, Built and Tested by Primary Teachers and Children.

Which I think is a pretty good premiss for using ict in schools and unfortunately teachers and children are the last folk to get there hands on educational ict tools.

What has be interesting in the growth of Web2 in schools (blogging,podcasting, wikis etc) is that is has come from the bottom up started in real classrooms around the country before any encouragement and direction from above. The community of practice that has developed is largely a grassroots movement. I wonder how the bloggers would have felt if they had been instructed by Heads, authorities or nationally to start blogging?

(apologies of the uninspired title)

I said it here but this is much better (via Anarchaia) as is: A Simple Code – Web Karma, Distilled.

Kurt Vonnegut Is Dead at 84

Two of my must reads Tom Hoffman and Daring Fireball point to uncov: uncov / Meebo is What’s Wrong With Web 2.0 (meebo) which is interesting & provocative Tom Hoffman’s take is

Realistically, cheap laptops for kids will need the efficiency of free desktop applications, not web apps uber alles.

uncov, uncovering web2 say they are

uncov is a new blog that is focused squarely on internet startups and web2. We plan on digging deeper than most web2 review sites and finding out what is really going on behind the scenes.

Tom’s post reminds me of Beyond the Browser (a oldie but goodie).

Upcoming.org: Creative ICT Innovations Conference at Chorlton Park Primary School (Saturday, April 21, 2007)

Free conference for educators interested in innovative developments in ICT.

I saw this one a while back on Creative ICT News and even check the train times and prices. Great looking lineup. I wish I could manage the trip but finances and timetables will not allow. Maybe some of the presentations will be online Hint to John;-)).