Category Archives: Blogging

Present on the Web

Found these new free sites to add interest to any blog or learning endeavor. On MakeBeliefsComics, you can create your own cartoon.  On Slide.com you can create your own online slide show .  The funky themes and eye candy are a come-on for younger users, compared to other online slideshow sites such as Slideshare.com   .

Advertisements

10 Ways to Use Your Edublogs to Teach

I just visited Edublogs.org to look for an introductory video for my learners on how to blog. Then I found this list on using the blog for teaching your students: 

1. Post materials and resources

2. Host online discussions

3. Create a class publication

4. Replace your newsletter

5. Get your students blogging

6. Share your lesson plans

7. Integrate multimedia of all descriptions

8. Organise, organise, organise

9. Get feedback

10. Create a fully functional website

May I lift this whole section from the posting, as I find it speaks a lot of truth:

One of the great things about Edublogs are that they are much, much more than just blogging tools. In fact, you can use your edublog to create a multi-layered, in-depth, multimedia rich website – that hardly looks like a blog at all. So, if you’d rather create a set of static content, archive of important information or even index for your library – you can bend an Edublog to suit your needs.

Sites to Engage Kids (and Anyone Else) to Create Online Content!

And last but not the least from Larry (his blog is such a goldmine of teaching and learning links!!), how to get over techphobia and I.T. inertia through a sampling of these links.  Quick, easy and relatively painless ways of creating online content.

Larry’s post is so helpful, so I just have to lift his descriptions verbatim from his Best Websites of the Day. To quote Larry:

MAKE A MOVIE: Use Dvolver Moviemaker to create short animations with text bubble dialogue.  You can see many examples of these films on my Examples of Student Work page.

WRITE A SONG: Use Let Them Sing It For You to write lyrics, and have each word sung by a different singer.  You have to hear it to believe it…Or, if you’re an American Idol fan, you can try Don Pablo’s Tex Mex Serenade, choose a singer and a song, and then use a text-to-speech feature to act as one of the judges.  For more ideas on how to use viral marketing gimmicks like this in the classroom, please see my TechLearning article Samuel L. Jackson, My ESL Students, And Me.

MAKE A MAP: There are two sites in particular that allow you easily make and save maps (without registration) that include multiple ”pushpins.”  These are spots on the map where you can insert more information about different places.  These map-making sites are Quikmaps and TinyMap.

CREATE A PIECE OF ART: There are numerous sites that “fit this bill.”  They included Imagination Cubed (which actually has multiple uses — see the Solar Systems my students created), Art Pad, Mr. Picassohead, and Etchy (an online Etch-A-Sketch).

CREATE A CARTOON/COMIC: Again, there are a number of great sites in this category.   They include MakeBeliefsComix, the Toronto Public Library Tell-A-Story Builder,  Scholastic’s Captain Underpants, and Kiddonet.

MAKE A SLIDESHOW: Bookr is about as easy of a slideshow maker as they get.  You can search through images with a tag word, drag them into a flip-like book, and add text.  My students love it.  You can see some of their samples here.  For an even easier way to create a slideshow, you can try Colgate’s Smile Slideshow.

PICK AN IMAGE AND WRITE A SPEECH BUBBLE: There are a number of sites that allow you to easily grab an image off the web and add a speech bubble with your text.  The best ones are Bubblr and Caption Bubble.

TELL A MEDIEVAL TALE: Use the great Historic Tale Construction Kit to tell a story with images and text while you create a virtual medieval tapestry.

WRITE A POEM:  Write ones using virtual refrigerator magnets at Shocked Poetry or Fridge Messages.

CREATE A POLL: Come-up with questions for a poll you want your friends or others to participate in with Snappoll or Flektor (click on “guest”).

DESIGN AN EARTH-FRIENDLY HOUSE: My Abodo lets users design a house and then get a rating for how environmentally-friendly it is.

SUBTITLE A CLIP FROM A BOLLYWOOD MOVIE: Bombay TV lets you choose a scene from a B movie from Bollywood and have fun creating subtitles for the clip.

DESIGN A VERY STRANGE-LOOKING BACKYARD: You can design a bizarre Backyard Paradise, name it and then add a description.  Here are some student examples.

SEND A TALKING EGG-A-GRAM: This is another strange example of viral marketing.  You can choose the way you want your eggs — scrambled, hard-boiled, etc. — and then use the site’s text-to-speech feature by having your chosen egg “speak” your Egg-A-Gram.  Again, you can see some student creations here.

WRITE AN E-CARD: I have links to literally thousands of different kinds of E-Cards on my website.  They include ones of images from every country in the world (Nations Illustrated), a Dancing Santa Claus or a Christmas treedinosaur pictures, a Valentine’s Day virtual cake,  and a big selection of virtual gifts.  You can see student examples of these at my website.

CREATE A PICTURE SENTENCE: Write a sentence and select an image to go with each word by using Phrasr.

CREATE A CHARACTER FROM THE DARK AGES:  Dress-up the character of your choice from the Middle Ages (Viking, nun, knight, peasant, etc.) with all the accessories.

MAKE A TALKING OTTER: Yes, that’s what it is.  Build and send an Ottogram.  I wonder how they come up with these things….

DESIGN A FLAG: Go to We Are Multicolored and design and describe a flag that represents you.

CREATE A MUSEUM EXHIBIT: The Object Of History from the National Museum of American History allows you to create a virtual museum exhibition about a number of historical events, including the California Gold Rush, desegregation, and organizing for the rights of farmworkers.

End of quote.  Note that some of the sites may require you to subscribe, paid or otherwise. 

Kudos to Larry Ferlazzo and his love for edublogging. 

Project Communications via Team Blogging

Came across an interesting article on enterprise blogging for projects by Rod Boothby of Innovation Creators.  It’s a very concrete, practical way of introducing blogging to the institution.  It reminds me of virtual teaming projects that allow participants to practice several skills: collaboration, communication using asynchronous tools, writing for the Net,  and information literacy.  It’s also highly practical for those who are not co-located and not from the same domain knowledge, yet need to work on a single project.  This works for those who are in corporate as well as in academe.  See my earlier post on using the blog for a primary school musical.

A concrete project with a short timeframe allows users who have little or no experience in blogging or social networking tools to experience the benefits of using weblogs for communication among team members.  What’s nice is that Boothby notes free tools such as WordPress or Movable Type , and the ubiquitous e-mail groups can work just as well as intranet-based enterprise software.

I like Boothby’s idea of creating a central directory of topics by using targetted e-mail addresses.  You can also use this for  asynchronous brainstorming: you can e-mail an idea to a specific address that posts it to the relevant blog! That would be create a rich repository that can be later on categorized and mined.  The site editor can add links of specific resources to help the blog visitors further explore the project topic, making it an organically growing, informal learning site.  I love it.

Blog for a School Musical

Woodrose School’s Primary Department put up a blog for its forthcoming musical, “The Littlest Empress”, to be shown on February 22 and 23, 2007 at the Insular Life Auditorium, Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang.  Proceeds from this original musical, written ten years ago by the school’s energetic primary level teachers, will be used to upgrade the school’s instructional materials and computer equipment.

This is one way to introduce teachers and students alike to the uses of blogging in education. It becomes a link between the school and the parents, those who wish to know more about what’s going on in their daughter’s academic and extra-curricular enrichment activities.   

The blog also serves as an online advertisement for the play, as an additional promotional venue for sponsors.  The blog is also used as an online announcement board (again for parents’ use) on the practice schedules and pictures of the rehearsals. Beyond the play, there are links to lead teachers, students and parents to other online learning sites.

For the Primary Department’s Academic Week, the blog will be used as a resource site to help students practice reading,  writing and computer usage skills together with their parents. 

iBlog 3.0 in the Works!

My intuition served me right.  I visited iblogph.org on a whim (and why didn’t i put it in my blogroll?).  I was pleased to see that plans are now being drawn up for iBlog 3.0 , scheduled this April 2007. 

As before, the energetic Ms. Janet Toral is at the forefront of the preparations.   iBlog 3.0 will be a two-day affair held over a weekend.   The one-day forum last year was way too short, with such a rich opportunity for discussion and idea exchange.  So Pinoy bloggers, speak up! What topics would you like to take up during the summit?

PayPal4Ph

Have you heard about the movement for PayPal4Ph? Read all about it at JSpot’s J. Angelo Racoma’s blog.

Notes from the Peanuts Gallery

I must admit I am quite taken by Notes from the Peanuts Gallery of Palanca Award winner and businessman, Dean Alfar.  Just by examining his blog, I learned a couple of things about blogging, including breaking some rules in the service of better readability, stickiness, conversation generation or pure reading pleasure.

  1. Write long articles on the blog, put a generous amount of graphics.  Examining Dean's blog, you can savour the beauty of the well-written word.  Showcase other bloggers' writings, or include a good sprinkling of linked jpegs and commentaries to books and magazines, as Dean did in his Paper Trail sidebar. Peanuts Gallery is full of great food for sight and soul.
  2. Come close to real, authentic conversation with longer posts.  I frankly get thrown off by 2-3 sentence posts.  Since the asynchronous communication is devoid of the usual face-to-face human cues, a short sentence or two seems curt, impersonal. In Dean's reply to Banzai Cat's ambivalence about joining this year's Palanca Awards competition, Dean sounded like he really listened to, thought of–and respected–Banzai's reservations.  
  3. Blog about something you are passionate about.  Dean showcases his passion for writing, his interests, his roles as father, husband, playwright, businessman. Lesson?  Write about your projects, your observations. But don't be afraid to write for money either. I'm talking about problogging. I think problogging is a great way to combine both what you love to do or write about, while making some good cash on the side. For as long as your love for writing will outstrip your love for making money–out of problogging, that is.
  4. When you've done (3),  create a community of interest by networking and inviting conversation.With the content, create ways to lead visitors into conversation and build community. Do this online, but do this offline too.  Including a chat box widget is a great way to engage surfers to post.  Ask questions in your posts. Comment on other writers' works, and let them know you did! Don't forget to use the author's first name, not only his blog name.   When you do get a comment, reply as promptly as you can. Timely replies to another's comments will build the online relationship.  If you and the reader are part of a common association or group, do get together during your group's event and continue the discussions offline.  Suggest group activities, projects (online and face-to-face).  Elearningpost's Maish wrote an article that online communities can't exist without an offline one (I hope I didn't take him out of context here).  So all talk and no action create dull communities, and most likely dull blogs.  What do you think?

Love iBlog 2

Great learning, great networking at iBlog 2.

I was fascinated by ways where I can use all these freebie tools such as blog metrics, RSS, Word Press.  And the people–kindred spirits, they are! The blog community is a community of practitioners, so passionate about blogging. Real wisdom from the sages and the A-listers.

Here are my striking words from this Summit :

Mike Abundo of Information Narcosis–Shameless self-promotion, purple cows, shishkebabs, Flicker, tags; Word Press? "I'm tempted".

Dean Alfar on Creative Writing Blogging time frame–Remember the past, write today, and do NOTE fear tomorrow (Dean, kudos.  You just showed us that a Palanca Award Winner can write a book of 50k words in 30 days, using the blog and this method)

And again from Dean: "How can you grow as a writer if you play in the sandbox of another writer's imagination?"

Zarah Gagatiga of Love a Librarian–51.5% of bloggers are 13-19 years old; information literacy; using blog activities for classroom teaching and learning

Probloggers:

  • Abe O. of Yugatech –Google Ad Sense; highest revenue by a Pinoy problogger–P  85,000/month PER BLOG for independent bloggers ; Blog work–1 to 2 hours/ day, 2 posts per blog
  • J. Angelo Racoma  of Forever Geek: Blogging can help you find a job, expand your horizons; your blog is your online portfolio. Problogging is just like any career, you can move companies and you can even get pirated.
  • Charo Nuguid of the Geekette SpeakethMetrics, metrics, metrics. Blog viewers are more active on Tuesdays, least active on Saturdays. They read in the morning and clickety-click at night.  Internet marketing on Orange and Bronze.
  • Marc Macalua of SEO Philippines— marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), keywords, keywurds, keywrds
  • Manuel Viloria–self-regulation in blog posts

Met fellow blog enthusiasts: Manuel Viloria, Adrian Sison, Gladys, Jerry Polence, Melvz, Janette Toral, Leo

Missed: All about podcasting. But thanks to Charo N. for the e-mail advice on what this is, and how to do it.

Let's keep the conversation going.  Looking forward to iBlog3!

Link-up to iBlog 2, the Philippines’ 2nd Blogging Summit

Attend iBlog 2, the Philippines' 2nd Blogging Summit! Go to iBlog 2 , the Philippines’ 2nd Blogging Summit. Attendance is FREE. Register now to save your seat!