2 episodes

The main objectives of the publication are first to inspire teachers to want to try some of these "new tools" for themselves and with their classes, and then to provide practical advice and guidance on how to do so.

Coming of Age: An introduction to the new worldwide web Coming of Age: An introduction to the new world

    • Education

The main objectives of the publication are first to inspire teachers to want to try some of these "new tools" for themselves and with their classes, and then to provide practical advice and guidance on how to do so.

    The international Edublog Awards 2005

    The international Edublog Awards 2005

    By Josie Fraser

    Fear of blogging
    Recent news regarding student use of web logs has not been particularly positive. Fears that students may misuse the platform or, conversely, find themselves at the mercy of evil blog trawlers, have led to institutions calling a halt to student blogging – in at least one instance, even in the student’s own time. Rather than looking at how the curriculum might best address the task of supporting learners in becoming responsible, web-savvy citizens, sites such as MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/) and Xanga (http://www.xanga.com/) are, instead, being outlawed.

    And it isn’t just obviously recreational sites that are being blocked on school networks. Although educators, learners and researchers have been using blogs constructively for over five years now, educational web logs – edublogs – are currently being blocked at district level by school authorities (see http://incsub.org/blog/2005/edublogs-being-blocked). In effect, this means that despite the recognition by multiple governments of the value of e-learning (to individuals and economies), and despite an emerging body of research and numerous examples of great educational practice, web logs – which provide a simple way for educators and students to create and participate in collaborative, conversational and distributed learning communities – are being excluded from the day-to-day business of education.

    The Edublog Awards
    Last year saw the second international Edublog Awards, a web-based event that recognises the many diverse and imaginative ways in which web logs are being used within education, and promotes positive and creative uses of new web technologies in the classroom. Peer- nominated blogs from across the globe compete in 10 categories, these being:

    Most innovative edublogging project, service or programme.
    • Best newcomer.
    • Most influential post, resource or presentation.
    • Best designed/most beautiful edublog.
    • Best library/librarian blog.
    • Best teacher blog.
    • Best audio and/or visual blog.
    • Best example/ case study of use of web logs within teaching and learning.
    • Best group blog.
    • Best individual blog.

    The full list, descriptive paragraphs, and links to all the finalists can be found at the Edublog Awards site at http://www.incsub.org/awards/ – providing a powerful example of how educators are harnessing the potential of weblog technology, and a rich snapshot of the methods and practices of the learners and educators at the forefront of educational technology today.

    The results
    Winners were announced at the awards event webcast, hosted by Worldbridges (http://worldbridges.com/livewire/) on Sunday December 18th.

    The Awards
    The international Edublog Awards (http://www.incsub.org/awards/) are an online community-based initiative designed to recognise and celebrate excellence in educational and scholarly blogging (edublogging) and promote the use of web logs to support teaching and learning.
    The awards were founded by James Farmer (http://incsub.org/) in 2004, in response to a call by Alex Halavais (http://alex.halavais.net/) for an award programme in response to the under representation/recognition of educational uses and users of blogs in existing blog awards, and are currently managed by Josie Fraser (http://fraser.typepad.com/edtechuk). This year’s awards team were geographically based in Europe, Canada and the US.

    The event is designed to achieve four things:
    • Promote and publicise the positive and creative use of new web technologies and practises in the classroom and throughout both formal and informal education.
    • Create an annotated archive/resource which captures the spirit and concerns of the edublogging community and exemplifies best practice.
    • Recognise and reward the achievements of individual edubloggers.
    • Contribute to edublogger community building and net

    • 1 min
    Diary of a Potential Podcasting Junkie

    Diary of a Potential Podcasting Junkie

    By Chris Smith

    The beginnings…
    Working briefly in an International School in Hong Kong allowed me to buy a newly released video iPod. I’m not sure why I purchased this new one as I already had a regular (yet old) iPod that holds my 5,000 song collection and still has lots of free disk space. But the lure of an iPod that could also show video could not be resisted and I parted with my dollars for my ‘toys for boys’ purchase.

    My first technical challenge (easy) was to upgrade my version of iTunes, the free software from Apple, running on my Windows XP laptop. This version of iTunes now also works as a podcast aggregator and organises all the programmes downloaded from the internet before they are sucked into the iPod.

    Finding good podcasts
    I was now ready to start looking around for podcasts that had some relevance to education, however tentative. There is a lot of ‘hype’ with the term “podcasting” but it is in fact not much more than the ability to produce audio/video mp3/mp4 files to then be downloaded from the internet and played either directly on your computer or on a portable player. One of the important extensions to this technology is the ability of the software (aggregator) to automatically check online for new programmes and download them without requiring your active involvement.

    Some users are suggesting that podcasting is simply a resurrection of the ideas of the old ‘ham’ or ‘short wave’ radio hobbyists. I’m inclined to agree with them but with the caveat that the ‘broadcasts’ can now be portable in a device in your pocket to be listened to when you wanted to rather than when transmitted. I suddenly have this mental image of all the students on the school bus all plugging in their Japanese earrings (headphones) and listening to homework assignments on the way home from their portable players, I bet the driver would appreciate that – but I digress.

    The first podcast I found, using the Directory at Yahoo http://podcasts.yahoo.com/,was TWiT (This Week in Technology), a sixty minute informal roundtable discussion of the latest trends in digital technology from a group of USA ICT innovators; this is audio, not video. The informal style was a little disconcerting at first but each programme has resulted in gems that are relevant to my work in ICT in Education and has forced me to keep a notebook and pen close by to make notes as I listen. (there is still a place for the old technology!)

    This subscription was quickly followed by others to, for example,’ Learning and Teaching in Scotland’, ‘IT Conversations’, Naace, ‘Daily SearchCast’ and Comedy365... but all audio. With no video yet in sight I needed to find something to look at on my 4x6cm screen in order to justify my original expenditure.

    Using a number of different podcast directories, I searched and subscribed to podcasts (VideoBlogs) offering video, which included TILT, DL.TV and Diggnation.
    First impressions were that the video did not really help much, the programmes could generally be listened to without looking at the screen which was often just displaying a ‘talking head’. One additional disadvantage is that these particular files were very large and took an age to download.

    Probably my most valuable introduction to multimedia education podcast opportunities was TILT, (Teaching Improving Learning with Technology), produced by Danny Mass out of the USA. There are not many programmes available and the quality is variable but what Danny does illustrate are some of the ways that this media could be used in teaching and learning: he is somewhat of an trailblazer for which I’m appreciative.

    This is, of course, only half of the story: I’ve been looking at being the passive recipient of podcasts..... but the contribution to learning is almost certainly strongest when students are producing their own podcast

    • 2 min

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