Do you ever have those times when you wonder why you’ve opened up so many cans of worms? In looking to generate interest in the Passion Project blogs I have been seeking to expose our students to a range of add-ons that they might like to use in their blogs. As I’ve blogged previously, I have set up a Test Blog to house examples of tools that the students might like to consider for use in their projects.
Now that I have made them aware of the site, a few of the more self directed students have checked it out. As noted previously some of the students had appreciated the power of Clustrmaps and still more knew that the blog skin could be modified. Oh and of course I had shown one or two how to use Survey Monkey. As a result there have been numerous students wanting to include some of these features on their blog.
One huge problem we are still having huge is that when more than 3-4 students try to access the globalstudent blog service that we use, the whole system becomes gridlocked to the extent that sometimes the downloads time out. This of course means that whole groups instruction in the use of any of these aspects is not possible. To overcome this a new model has been adopted that is arguably more effective anyway. What I now tend to do is to get small groups of students and show them how to perform a task. Once they have gone through the process, such as setting up a Clustrmap account and adding it to their blog, I send them off in pairs to tutor one of their peers. Once their friend has completed the task one of the original tutors remains with the tutored student to work with another of their peers to teach him/her. This process is continuing, albeit at times a little more slowly than I would hope though it is proving quite effective.
Of course sometimes as a teacher, one forgets how one has done a task. So it has been with embedding a Voki. Josh had come in proudly earlier in the week to say he had a Voki and wanted to put it in his blog. Overconfidently I said that I knew what to do and then proceeded to fail try after try. After 45 minutes, (Josh is a very patient student though it was well after the school day had ended), I finally remembered and he is now the first Voki-ized blogger in the group.
On Friday I was also very pleased to see that Emma had embedded a flickr image in her blog complete with attribution as expected. Interested to find out how she had done this I was very chuffed to find out that she had used the movie I had made and embedded in the Test Blog, following it to complete the task. I shall have to find some more time to make similar support movies for some of the other tasks, eg Clustrmaps etc.