Freshy could be a good theme choice for student blogs. For formative assessment purposes, it’s good if visitors to a blog can comment not only on Posts, but on any Pages the student has created. We’ve learned that not all themes support Page comments. For example, Craig’s All About Birds page is enabled for comments, but in his current theme, 3K2, we don’t have an option to leave one.
We already know too, of course, that students value the ability to change their own header image.
This morning I noticed that Mark, a student at MGS, has adopted the Freshy theme for his blog. He’s found that you can add your own header image by providing the URL for the image – it’s in the Advanced Options for Freshy. Thanks Mark!
Combined with Freshy’s support for comments on Pages, this means Freshy is a good choice for student blogs where comments on Pages are important.
- planning for the first “new technologies” CPD session the Education ICT team are doing at Law Primary soon
- quick meeting with website team at Preston Lodge to check the WebsiteBaker arrangements are going OK
- got to end of Ollie’s session at Musselburgh, then took MGS WebsiteBaker planning a bit further forward there
There were so many people at the Musselburgh twilight session, I thought I’d got the room wrong. It was great to see that this approach can work so well. There’s clearly a large latent demand.Came back to number of emails about blogs. I’m now finding the blog handy for answering these, which is great. It’s surprising how often time can be saved by sending a link. And you don’t even have to remember what you wrote, too, which is handy…
It’s interesting to see how busy the Exc-el site is becoming. Noticed today we’ve already exceeded the number of visits for the whole of October, and we’re only 70% of the way through the month.
Today – at last – a pilot of WebsiteBaker was installed for Preston Lodge High School. This was promised for Monday, but I fell ill. Sorry Linda! Experience from Pete Gray at East Lothian’s Museums Service indicates it’s a product that people familiar with a modern word processor find easy to use. This is true: it’s realistic to consider S1 students as potential authors.
The bones of the site are here – but there’s nothing much to see yet. Curiosity led me to try a Wrapper Page, which was a surprise – have a look at this.
Current thinking is to use it as a Content Management System to enable multiple users within the school to easily update the “notice board” type content that people expect to find on a school web site.
Experience has shown that if this isn’t easy enough, the site will soon become stale. Also, it’s important not to be over-reliant on a single editor. We’re keen to build a network of contributors within – and perhaps beyond – each school, and avoid funnelling every change through a single person.
WebsiteBaker is already in use at Dunbar Grammar, where Anne’s migrating existing eZpublish content across. Ollie Bray at Musselburgh Grammar is having a look at WebsiteBaker too, as it could solve the same problem there.
We’ve now a growing number of student blogs. These haven’t been given a high profile. Partly, this was to let them get established, and build up their confidence, before encouraging others to comment. Also, we wanted to be confident that we had appropriate arrangements in place for dealing with comments.
Because Craig and Fraser have been doing so well with their blogs (see previous post) we now want to let them start building an audience. That’s why they’ve now earned the first Student Blog links on the Exc-el Home Page.
What have we done about comments? These are often a source of concern. Ewan‘s experience from Musselburgh Grammar School’s blogs showed that problems are very unlikely, with only a handful of problem comments out of thousands posted.
Because these are the first Exc-el student blogs to have a public profile, we’ve added some additional monitoring. As well as automated protection against comment spam, we’ve arranged that a copy of every comment left will be automatically emailed to a member of staff at the school as soon as it is left. That teacher has full rights on each blog, and can moderate or delete any comments held for moderation. The flexibility of WordPress MU is proving valuable.
If you’re interested in student blogging you must have a look at Craig’s amazing blog. The title is his – but he’s not kidding.
Backstory: This is one of the blogs started yesterday, just before lunch, by an autistic S1 student who was completely new to WordPress.
He’s already using Pages to build up a web site about his hobby, birds. Here are just some examples:
Not only were Craig and his classmate Fraser reluctant to leave at lunchtime, I notice this blog has been developing this evening. Why not have a look, and leave a comment?
This is a powerful demonstration of how WordPress might be used in the context of the Extreme Learning Curriculum development.
At Ollie‘s invitation, I set up a couple of blogs for two autistic S1 students at Musselburgh Grammar School. Today was their chance to get started, and I was interested to see how things went. How would they get on with WordPress? Would there be some difficulties we hadn’t foreseen?
Continue reading Autistic bloggers
Preston Lodge High School doesn’t currently have a web site – but that’s about to change. I met up with some of the people involved today. Interestingly, despite not having a site just now, they were unanimous that the school site they want needs to be one that isn’t just a dull electronic equivalent of a notice-board. There was a real recognition that students had to have a voice on the web, not just “the school”. Continue reading Preston Lodge High School – web developments
I’d a quick meeting with Anne Johnstone from DGS today about development of the DGS web site. Like Musselburgh Grammar, Dunbar are wanting to move the site on to make it more interactive, and to include more student input. With Ollie Bray, we’re now planning to get some collaboration going – and maybe even some healthy competition! – between the students at both schools.