Getting Started with Global2

Yesterday I ran a professional development day for teachers called Technify Your Teaching in 2013.

While my colleagues Matt Limb and Simon Collier ran sessions on iDevices, Google Apps, Evernote and web 2.0 tools, I presented workshops on blogging with my team teaching partner, Kelly Jordan. One of our sessions was on setting up your class blog for 2013.

I created a step-by-step handout for the event called “Getting Started with Global2”. This is based around the guide that John Pearce created a few years ago (thank you, John).

If you are wanting to set up an educational blog and you’re working in a DEECD or CEO school, I strongly recommend you head straight to Global2. Global2 is a DEECD sponsored Edublogs Campus Site. That means you get all the best features that Edublogs offers for free! Support for Edublogs Campus subscribers is extensive.

2013 will be the sixth year that I have used Global2 and I have found it to be an excellent platform for my class, student and teacher blogs.

The following guide takes you through six initial goals when setting up a Global2 blog

  • signing up
  • writing a post
  • changing your theme
  • adding widgets
  • writing a post
  • adjusting general settings

I hope you or your colleagues find it useful.

Getting Started With Global2 by Kathleen Morris

If you are having trouble accessing the Scribd document, you can download the PDF version here Getting Started with Global2

If you are looking for more advice about setting up a class blog, check out Five Steps to Starting a Class Blog which I published last year.

What are your blogging plans for 2013?

Edublog Awards – Please Vote!

The Edublog Awards have been running since 2004 and showcase some of the most popular blogs in education around the world.

The purpose of the Edublog Awards is to promote and demonstrate the educational values of blogging. This is something I really believe in!

Voting is now open for the 2012 awards and my students and I need your support.

Voting closes on Monday 10th December at 4pm and the Awards Ceremony will be held at 11am on Thursday 14th December (Melbourne time).

Voting is now open for the worldwide 2011 Edublog Awards. Mrs Morris, Miss Jordan, 2KM and 2KJ need your support to help Leopold shine!
Voting closes on Wednesday 14th December and the Awards Ceremony will be held at 11am on Thursday 15th December.
To vote, go to www.edublogawards.com and look for the drop down menu on the left hand side of the page

To vote, go to:

http://edublogawards.com/vote-here/

You will simply need to use the drop down menu to pick your category and your choice. Then press vote.

Only one vote per category per day will be counted per IP address/location.

How you can vote for me and my students:

Best individual blog

Integrating Technology in the Primary Classroom – Kathleen Morris
Best class blog

4KM and 4KJ @ Leopold Primary School

Best student blog

BB’s Awesome Blog  OR

Bronte’s Barn  OR

Georgia’s Gorgeous Blog OR

Skye’s Super Blog OR

Jarrod’s Awesome Blog

Best ed tech blog

Integrating Technology in the Primary Classroom – Kathleen Morris

Best teacher blog

Integrating Technology in the Primary Classroom – Kathleen Morris

Thank you for your nominations!

What do you think about the Edublog Awards?

Five Steps to Starting a Class Blog

I have revised the posts I have written in the past to create a nine page, five step guide to beginning a class blog. Feel free to view, print or download the document to help you get started on your blogging journey.

Five Steps to Starting a Class Blog

If you’re having trouble with the Scribd document, you can access the PDF here Five Steps to Starting a Class Blog

Good luck!

The Edublog Awards – Vote for us!

The Edublog Awards have been running since 2004 and showcase some of the most popular blogs in education around the world.

The purpose of the Edublog Awards is to promote and demonstrate the educational values of blogging. This is something I really believe in!

Edublogs

There were many cheers of delight in 2KM and 2KJ today when we found out that we were nominated for Edublog Awards.

Voting is now open for the 2011 awards and we need your support.

Voting closes on Wednesday 14th December and the Awards Ceremony will be held at 11am on Thursday 15th December (Melbourne time).

Voting is now open for the worldwide 2011 Edublog Awards. Mrs Morris, Miss Jordan, 2KM and 2KJ need your support to help Leopold shine!
Voting closes on Wednesday 14th December and the Awards Ceremony will be held at 11am on Thursday 15th December.
To vote, go to www.edublogawards.com and look for the drop down menu on the left hand side of the page

To vote, go to http://edublogawards.com/vote-here/

You will simply need to use the drop down menu to pick your category and your choice. Then press vote.

It is important to know that you can only vote once per day per category from any location/IP address.

    How you can vote for me and my students:

    Tip: If you click on the category, you will go straight to the voting page!

    Best individual blog

    Kathleen Morris – Integrating Technology

    Best individual tweeter

    Kathleen_Morris

    Best group blog

    Our World, Our Stories

    Best class blog

    2KM and 2KJ @ Leopold PS

    Best student blog

    Ava OR BB OR Haille OR Jarrod OR Jordi OR Millie

    Best ed tech blog

    Teaching Generation Now

    Most influential post

    Kathleen Morris

    Best teacher blog

    Kathleen Morris – Integrating Technology

    Lifetime Achievement

    Kathleen Morris

    I am flattered to be nominated in so many categories. Thank you!

    Have you been nominated in the Edublog Awards?

    15 Blogging Tips for Students and Teachers

    This post was originally published last year as 10 Blogging Tips for Students and Teachers.

    As I regularly help students and other teachers set up their blogs, I find myself giving lots of little tips that I have picked up on my own blogging journey.

    My list of tips keeps expanding and I thought it was timely to republish an updated version of this post.

    Many of these ideas have originally come from some of my blogging “mentors” such as Linda Yollis and Sue Waters.

    Here are 10 15 Blogging Tips for Students and Teachers

    1. Post frequency: Find a balance. Don’t post too often (ie. daily) otherwise you will not be able to generate much conversation through commenting and readers won’t be able to keep up. Post too infrequently (ie. monthly) and your readers might start to forget about you.

    I advise my students to post no more than once or twice a week, while three times a week works well for my class blog. Decide what works for you.

    2. Reply to comments: I am often disappointed by student and adult bloggers who do not reply to their comments on their own blog. I feel that it is basic blogging etiquette to reply. Acknowledge your readers’ comments, interact with them and they will be encouraged to comment again.

    3. Have an “About” page: The first thing I do when I visit a new blog is look at the About page. I am always disappointed when there isn’t one! Don’t keep your readers in the dark about who you are and what you’re blogging about.

    4. Theme changes: Students love playing around with different themes when they first start blogging. I encourage them to explore for a week or so but then advice them to find a good theme and stick with it. Readers may be able to identify less with your blog if it looks different every time they visit it.

    5. Fun widgets: Young bloggers love widgets! In my opinion, it is advisable to limit “fun” or “novelty” widgets. Too many widgets take away from the actual content of the blog posts and can slow down loading time! I suggest my students have no more than three “fun widgets” such as virtual pets, Christmas countdowns, jokes, tips, music clips etc.

    6. Add a search box: Early on in the year, I teach my students how to use the search box on blogs to find content. I find it frustrating when blogs don’t have the search box. This simple tool allows readers to find what they’re looking for and means when your posts are no longer on the front page, they won’t be lost.

    7. Subscribe via email: While I also use Google Reader and Twitter to keep track of blogs I like, I love having the ability to subscribe via email to my favourite blogs. Adding this feature could bring more regular visitors to your blog.

    8. Add links to blog posts and comments: Links help your visitors gain a deeper understanding of what they’re reading. Links in blog posts can also be used to acknowledge or compliment others’ work. Links in blog comments can add extra information to a conversation. If you don’t know how to add a link to a blog comment, check out Linda Yollis’ excellent blog post and quick video.

    9. Visit other blogs: You can’t expect many people to read and comment on your blog if you don’t read and comment on others’ blogs. You have to be part of the blogging community to get the most out of blogging.

    10. End with a question: On my class blog and this blog I like to end with a question to stimulate and direct conversation in the comment section. My Grade Two bloggers are learning how to ask “broader” questions that will appeal to more readers (eg. if a child writes a post about a holiday to Noosa, instead of simply asking “have you ever been to Noosa?” they could ask readers to leave a comment and describe a holiday they have been on etc).

    11. Don’t lose your comment: All my students now know how to select all (Control A) and copy (Control C) their comment before they hit “submit”. This allows them to paste (Control V) the comment if something goes wrong when they hit the “submit” button. This happens fairly frequently with young students due to the wrong spam word being entered etc. Read My grade two student Millie’s post about this tip here.

    12. Left align your writing: I used to be guilty of centering all of my text until I realised this is not easy on the eye and not what professional writers do (always good to look to the professionals for guidance when in doubt). Style guides usually suggest that centered text is best for invitations, posters, headings etc.

    13. Use paragraphs and sub-headings: As a writer, you need to do as much as you can to make your post easy to read. I am likely to stop reading something that doesn’t have any paragraph breaks. The more your writing is spaced out the better. Having key words or sub heading in bold/colour can also make your post easier on the eye.

    14. Don’t copy and paste from MS Word: If you’ve been blogging for a while you may have experienced the dreaded consequence of copying and pasting text from Microsoft Word into a blog post. It is a big no no! Doing this can give you bad code which can ruin the layout of your blog.

    If you do want to copy and paste from Word you either need to paste the text into the HTML section of your editor or paste the text into Notepad (or the Mac equivalent) and then copy and paste that text into your post editor. If you want to read more about this, check out Sue Waters’ post here.

    15. Stick with it: One of the biggest mistakes bloggers make is to give up too easily. Stick with it and reap the rewards!

    Are any of these tips new ideas for you?

    What other blogging tips can you think of? There must be lots more!

    Guest Post about Twitter on PLN Challenge

    As I have blogged about before, Edublogs supports a Student Blogging Challenge and Teacher Blogging Challenge which are two excellent forms of free professional development.

    The current Teacher Blogging Challenge is called “30 Days to a Whole New PLN”.

    There will be two or three posts each week about setting up, enhancing, and participating in your very own personal learning network.

    This week, I was invited to write a guest post on using Twitter to build your PLN.

    Click here to find the post

    In this post I answer

    • What is Twitter
    • Why you should be interested in Twitter
    • What you will get out of being on Twitter
    • How to get started with Twitter to build your PLN

    Guest post Twitter PLN

    Head over to the Teacher Challenge site and check it out!

    Blogging and the Ultranet

    Note: this is not a critique of the Ultranet, rather it is advice on choosing the best platform for your students to get the most out of blogging.

    Over the past few months I have been approached by countless teachers asking for help and advice with the same issue…

    Their school leadership has told them to use the Ultranet for blogging rather than platforms such as Global2, Edublogs or Blogger and they don’t know what to do.

    I believe this advice is fuelled by a lack of understanding of how the Ultranet works, how blogging works and what the benefits of blogging are.

    People who are advising others to use the Ultranet to blog probably aren’t bloggers themselves and I am hoping this post can help them realise what teachers would be missing out on if they chose the Ultranet as their blogging platform.

    As I highlighted in this post, there are many benefits of blogging, most of which cannot be achieved with a blog on the Ultranet.

    What is the Ultranet?

    For those readers outside of Victoria, the Ultranet is a multi-million dollar online portal released in 2010. The Ultranet is a state-wide, secure site that students, parents and teachers in government schools can access via the internet. A large number of security guidelines means that students and classes are very limited in who can view their Ultranet spaces and who they can connect with. The Ultranet has an application called a blog, however it has its limitations which I will discuss further.

    What’s wrong with blogging on the Ultranet?

    I like to call blogging on the Ultranet, “pretend blogging”. To me you may as well be writing a “blog” in a Word document or in an exercise book. The Ultranet is a closed space with limited features or audience.
    My main issues with blogging on the Ultranet rather than on a regular blogging platform are lack of global connections, lack of classroom community, lack of authentic audience, lack of features and lack of opportunities to authentically teach about internet safety.

    Lack of global audience

    I have found the global audience to be one of the most exciting benefits of blogging. Real blogging can help flatten the classroom walls and the benefits of these connections are incomparable. A sense of understanding and tolerance develops and students learn a lot about the world in which they live. My class has connected with classes from all corners of the globe through our class blog and the learning has been priceless. A day doesn’t go by in our classroom where we don’t have some form of interaction with our global blogging buddies. This would not be possible with an Ultranet blog. There would be no chance of any visitors outside of Victoria seeing the “blog”.

    Less sense of classroom community

    A real sense of community has developed each year through my class blog. We have a class mascot, Leo the Lion, who features prominently on our blog and we have established a place in the global blogosphere. We could not have developed our identity with a blog that had no real audience. Our class blog is a place where students, parents, teachers and classes around the world come together and interact. They can learn about who we are and what we are up to while sharing their own experiences with us. With the restrictions placed on accessing the Ultranet, this would not be possible with an Ultranet blog.

    Lack of authentic audience

    In the traditional classroom, the only audience of student work was the teacher and sometimes classmates and parents. (Real) blogs provide a much larger audience for student work and an avenue for feedback and self-improvement through commenting. I have found students are more motivated by knowing they have a large and genuine audience for their work. The Ultranet does not provide much more of an audience for student work than traditionally existed when students did all their work in exercise books. How many people would be looking at a student or class Ultranet blog?

    Lack of features

    The aesthetics and features of Ultranet blogs are extremely basic which adds to my claim that Ultranet blogging is “pretend” blogging. There isn’t overly much you can do with your Ultranet blog. To provide just one example, we start each day looking at the Clustrmap of our global visitors on our class blog. This is such an authentic way to learn about maths and geography. There are no Clustrmaps or many of the other wonderful web 2.0 tools out there available for Ultranet blogs.

    This image demonstrates the appearance of an Ultranet blog.

    Blog Ultranet

    Limited opportunities to discuss internet safety

    Real blogs are on the internet for everyone to see. Through being heavily involved in blogging, my Grade Two class has opportunities almost every day to discuss cyber safety issues and appropriate online behaviours in an authentic setting. We establish blogging guidelines that help students understand how to behave safely online. With the Ultranet being so heavily protected, how can teachers and students have genuine discussions about how to connect safely with others and how to protect their identity?

    Use your time wisely

    Someone once pointed out to me that while they realise all these arguments are valid, teachers could use the Ultranet for blogging with a local audience and another platform for blogging with a global audience. My question is why? Blogging platforms such as Global2, Edublogs and Blogger are far superior and incomparable to what the Ultranet has to offer. They cater for local and global audiences while offering many other features and benefits. As a teacher, I don’t have time to dedicate to “pretend” blogging on the Ultranet as well as real blogging. Do you?

    The Ultranet may have other valid uses in the classroom but to me, blogging isn’t one of them.

    What do you think?

    Five Steps to Starting a Class Blog

    The school year began in Victoria, Australia last week. Many teachers have been thinking about the benefits of having a class blog and are keen to start their own class blog.

    I’ve been getting lots of questions about the process of starting a blog so I thought I would write a post to help get new bloggers started (note, the views below are all my own).

    1. Choose Your Platform

    If you are working in a Victorian Government School, I recommend you head straight to Global2. This is the new platform for 2011 and replaces Global Teacher and Global Student. Global2 is an Edublogs Campus Site. That means you get all the best features that Edublogs offers for free! Support for Edublogs Campus subscribers is extensive.

    If you are not in a Victorian Government School, you will need to choose another platform. There are many blogging platforms out there but my personal favourites are Blogger and Edublogs.

    I have found pros and cons for both.

    Edublogs has a free version but to access an ad-free blog with better features and support you will need to pay for a subscription. Click here to find out about costs.

    Blogger is Google’s blogging platform (also known as Blogspot) and is totally free. Blogger has a good range of theme templates and sidebar gadgets available however I  have found the overall features to be more simplistic than Edublogs (not necessarily a bad thing for some teachers and students). Specific support is also much more limited than Edublogs although because of its large worldwide usage, there are a lot of Blogger forums, help sites and videos on the web.

    One important point to note with Blogger is there is a navigation bar at the top of each blog that allows you to “go to the next blog” among other things. This could potentially cause safety issues for your students if the “next blog” is inappropriate.

    Click here to find the instructions on how to remove the navigation bar (I haven’t tried these instructions yet so please leave a comment if you’ve tried them!)

    Still not sure what platform to use? Check out these blogs to see the difference

    BLOGGER BLOGS

    Mrs Yollis’ Classroom Blog

    Ugandan Global Project

    Open the Door to B4

    EDUBLOGS BLOGS

    2KM and 2KJ @ Leopold Primary School

    Mr Salsich’s Class Blog

    Mr Avery’s Classroom Blog

    2. Find Support

    Whatever platform you choose there are avenues for support. Make the most of these to help you learn about blogging.

    General:

    • Twitter (I am @kathleen_morris there are many other fabulous helpful bloggers on Twitter).
    • Read other class blogs for ideas (check out the list on the Edublogger site). *Note: do not directly copy other people’s work. That is a breach of copyright, etiquette and a form of plagiarism.
    • Are there any other teachers interested in blogging at your school? Buddy up with them and learn together.
    • Sign up for the Blogging Teacher Challenge or Student Blogging Challenge, both are free professional development to help you and your students to become better bloggers.

    Edublogs:

    • Read the Edublogger Blog by Sue Waters – a mine of information!
    • Visit the Edublogs support page for a extensive range of videos and written tutorials.
    • Follow Edublogs on Twitter (@Edublogs)

    Blogger:

    • Visit the Blogger support page for getting started guides and tutorials.
    • Follow Blogger on Twitter (@blogger)

    3. Set Your Guidelines

    Before you start blogging with your students you need to think about what sort of guidelines you want to have in place. There is no right or wrong answer here. Decide what will work best for you, your students, your parents and your school.

    Questions to consider:

    •    Will you include photos of the students’ faces?
    •    Will you select the option (in Edublogs) to include you blog in public searches like Google?
    •    Will you ask parents to not use their surname when they comment so they don’t identify their child?
    •    Will you select the option to have all comments sent to your email for approval before appearing on the blog?
    •    Will you set up protocols with your class so they know not to reveal too much about themselves on the blog and use courteous language online?
    •    Will you read all students’ blog posts before they are published?

    Click here to find the 2KM and 2KJ blog guidelines.

    *Reminder: it is okay to look at other class blog guidelines but it is not okay to copy them without permission and acknowledgment.

    4. Introduce Your Blog to Parents

    Parent permission is crucial. Our school has a simple permission form which I accompany with an explanation letter about the blog and blogging.

    Blog permission form

    2KM and 2KJ Blog Information Note 2011

    I also create a  handout to help parents navigate the class blog.

    10 Steps to Navigating the 2KM and 2KJ Blog 2011

    I include a “Learn About Blogging” set of pages on our class blog.

    On the parent information night early in the school year, I talk to the parents about blogging, commenting and answer any of their questions.

    Ongoing support for parents is provided via email newsletters throughout the year.

    5. Introduce Your Blog to Students

    I start the school year by introducing the students to the concept of blogging and familiarising them with the terminology.

    Introducing my students to their blogging community is done from Day One. We have established many “blogging buddies” over the three years I have had a class blog and each year my students and I continue these relationships.

    It is so important to teach students to write quality comments if you want to improve their literacy skills and help them to engage in meaningful conversations on the blog. Last year I wrote a post about how I teach commenting skills. Find it here.

    In my class, students have the opportunity to earn their own blog throughout the year and I make them aware of this early in the school year. Find out more about how I set up student blogs here.

    Throughout the year, this is the process I use to introduce students to blogging (note some stages are longer than others ie. commenting is a huge focus where as only a small amount of time may be spent of whole class/individual writing of blog posts).

    class blogging progression

    What advice would you give to new bloggers?

    Edublog Awards – Voting is Open!

    edublogawardsbanner

    I was flattered to discover that my blogs have been nominated for the 2010 Edublogs Awards.

    Voting is now open and ends on Tuesday December 14th.

    Please lodge your votes!

    Only one vote per IP address is allowed to keep things honest. You can lodge a vote in all categories.

    *************

    This blog, Integrating Technology in the Primary Classroom has been nominated in two categories.

    Best Teacher Blog

    and

    Best Individual Blog

    *************

    My class blog, 2KM @ Leopold Primary School has been nominated for Best Class Blog.

    *************

    I’m very proud that two of my grade two students, Rhiannon and Bianca, have been nominated in the Best Student Blog category. Click here to vote for one of the girls.

    *************

    Have your say and vote today!

    2010 Edublog Awards: Nominations

    edublogawardsbanner

    The 2010 Edublog Awards are open for nomination. These awards, now in their seventh year, celebrate…

    …the achievements of edubloggers, twitterers, podcasters, video makers, online communities, wiki hosts and other web based users of educational technology.

    Here are the awards I would like to nominate for 2010:

    Best individual blog: What Ed Said by Edna Sackson
    Best individual tweeter: Linda Yollis
    Best group blog: The Reading Roundup
    Best new blog:
    Teaching Literacy in the Primary Classroom by Kelly Jordan
    Best class blog: 2KJ Blog
    *Best student blog: Rhiannon’s Blog
    Best resource sharing blog: iLearn Technology by Kelly Tenkely
    Most influential blog post: 10 Things you can’t just do on Monday in Period 6 by Edna Sackson
    Best teacher blog:
    Teaching Literacy in the Primary Classroom by Kelly Jordan
    Best librarian / library blog: SLAV Bright Ideas
    Best educational tech support blog: The Edublogger by Sue Waters
    Best educational use of audio:
    Ed Tech Crew
    Best educational wiki: Web 2.0 – Cool Tools for School
    Best educational podcast: Ed Tech Crew
    Best educational webinar series: Tech Talk Tuesdays organised by Anne Mirtschin
    Lifetime achievement: Sue Waters

    * I couldn’t decide on the student blog so my class had a silent vote!

    How to Nominate:

    You can nominate your own favorites. Simply follow these directions:

    Step 1: Write a post with your award nominates on your blog.

    • Link to The Edublog Awards Homepage
    • Make sure the blogs you are nominating are linked too.
    • You can nominate for as many categories as you like, but only one nomination per category, and not yourself  :)
    • You can nominate a blog for more than one category.

    Step 2: Email the Edublog Awards the link to your nomination post

    Nominations: Close Friday 3 December
    Voting: Ends Tuesday 14 December
    Award Ceremony: Wednesday 15 December

    Nominate today and have your say!