8 Carronvale Primary students who attended Falkirk Council’s Education ICT Fair this week have won a Silver award for their P7 class blogs. Of course, they’ve blogged it: you can read the details in posts from Danni, Nicola, Lisa and Rebecca; there are some photos on their class blog too.
Their individual blogs are hosted on eduBuzz as part of our efforts to share what we’re learning with other authorities. It’s working the other way, too, as these blogs are providing us with great practical examples of how individual blogs can be used effectively with P7 students.
The ICT Fair Press Release includes this quote from Julia Swan, Falkirk’s Education Director:
We are seeing the growing use of ICT in the classroom and pupils are responding very positively to developments. Feedback from teachers shows that pupils are generally more eager to participate as they use the ICT equipment to engage with learning.
Many staff have reported that they have found attainment rises the more pupils are involved in using ICT in the learning process and suggests that this is an area in which we will be prioritising our resources.
This anecdotal evidence is consistent with HMI’s recent ICT in Learning and Teaching report, which reported that: “In primary schools, progress in particular aspects of learning was linked to effective use of ICT”. It’s interesting to see this now reaching the stage where it’s leading to the prioritising of resources, despite the apparent absence of systematic studies. If such increased resourcing of ICT is to be sustained, it’s going to be important to improve our knowledge of where exactly the potential benefits lie.
Yesterday’s thoughts on Extreme Learning, where we talked about using the term “mashup” to describe a form of output material, is supported by Becta’s second volume of its Emerging Technologies for Education paper , out this week. It includes this description of the way that use of social software supports the way young people like to learn.
But perhaps more interesting is the fact that (social tools) operate at the intersection of technology, teaching and creativity, which is a need that Sir Ken Robinson, a leading expert on innovation, identified so eloquently at the 2006 TED conference. In this respect, the fundamental pattern of learning and innovation using social tools – find –> remix –> share – seems ideally suited to the way most young people like to discover and make sense of the world around them, which is reason enough for an optimistic view of their likely impact. (from Chapter 1, by Lee Bryant of Headshift, Page 10: Link)
I’ve never seen this connection made so explicitly before. It makes me wonder if, as we develop East Lothian’s new learner-centred social software site eduBuzz.org, our current main menu options, Explore and Share, might be complemented by a third, Remix? That could link learners to some of the tools now starting to appear which explicitly support the remixing activity, such as Dapper (thanks Robert) or Yahoo Pipes (thanks again Robert!). It’s early days in this area, but there’s no doubt use of these tools is now within the capability of some secondary school students, and they’ll only get easier to use.
Today after-school I ran a 90-minute CPD session on creating dynamic school web sites using WordPress. Until I arrived, I was expecting around 5 people, and had prepared, just in case, for up to 10. In the event, there were 13 on the latest list, and everyone made it. There was great enthusiasm, and I went away convinced the group will be making full use of what they learned.
The course outline is here as a Word document: It covered: ECS371 Making Your School Website Dynamic – outline Continue reading “Making Your School Website Dynamic” is a popular course!
We’ve just added a bit more buzz to the eduBuzz explore page. It’s a WordPress blog, and by switching on Snap Preview plug-in, we’ve got all its links now displaying a pop-up preview if you hover your mouse over them. As should the links on this page, if you’re wondering what I’m talking about…
Because many of the “Latest Post” links haven’t been Snap Previewed before, there’s a bit of “Queued for Capture – check back shortly” going on, as the Snap site learns what they look like. That will sort itself out over time – but the first to try to preview the “latest posts” links are always going to be caught that way.
Of course, if you’re an Exc-el/eduBuzz blogger you can do the same with your blog – instructions are here.
Does this help, or are things getting a bit too busy? Let us know what you think.
With Grazr we can let users surf the Exc-el blog feeds. I’ve made a mock-up, based on every blog in the Exc-el WPMU site. You can try it here.
Grazr usually appears as a little feedreader-like widget that can be embedded in a blog sidebar, and
- can be expanded to full-window size, as in the photo
- offers 3 views: a 3-panel display, as shown, a list or a slider
- via a full range of code snippets, embedded into WordPress sidebars, posts – or other blogs
Visit the Grazr URL to get code snippets to use it yourself. You can post a badge like this, for example:
I’ve used this capability to create a Flake in PageFlakes. You can see the Flake in the explore all eduBuzz blogs page which Ewan and I have been trying out. (Click Edit on that Flake, and you can get the HTML snippet behind the Flake for use on your own blog or web page if you want)
update: PageFlakes page not working -sorry – not sure why
Update 10/1/07: Tess Watson was present too!
Here are notes from Monday’s meeting. Comments welcome. (Word doc: Notes of Exc-el Meeting No.1, 8.1.2007)
Exc-el Board Meeting
EAST LOTHIAN EDUCATION & CHILDREN’S SERVICES
EXC-EL DEVELOPMENT – www.exc-el.org.uk
Notes of Exc-el Board Meeting No.1, held in John Muir House on Monday 8th January 2007
Continue reading First Exc-el Meeting of 2007