Our first posts

Rushed off my feet for the last week, but I’ve been meaning to post an update on how we’ve been getting on.

A few of the pupils did come back to Elgg between the first and second lessons to add more to their profiles or check out what their friends had posted, but on the whole, fairly quiet. Following Dave’s advice, I did edit the profile categories to change some of the work related stuff to invite them to talk about music, sport, drama etc, as well as naming a favourite film and author – I’d be interested to see how these change over the year, and in the future if any of them keep using our Elgg as their blogs – not sure what we’ll do about access restrictions then…

Anyhow, the first proper lesson on blogging – emphasised that it was their space to talk about and reflect on the things that were important to them, but suggested that they all start by writing about the first two weeks of school – fascinatiting to compare and contrast the entries: here are two, for which the authors have given consent for me to quote here:

  • It was interesting in drama. We have to make up a small play with stereo-types of a mad professer, a detective and a movie star in them. I am also enjoying my responsiblities as a nusary helper. The choldren are so cute and sweet. Maths and English are interesting. In maths we are learning about fractions and I am enjoying it. In english we are learning about poems by Ted Hughes it is quite fun and very intersted in it. Outside of school I do swimming six times a week. I love playing with my sister bo {Elizabeth} and she has a dog kennal in the car she likes cuddleing the dogs in the car and she drifts of to the land of nod {goes to sleep}. Bo dislikes my worms [the author has a worm farm] and gets all scared and runs away. My other sister is the most anoying girl in the intier world. She enjoys kicking, punching, and practicly killing me. I enjoy fighting back but I tend to walk of and she wins. She follows me everywhere and looks up to me but I don’t really set a good example to her. She doesn’t even know about my worms.
  • The first couple of weeks being in year 6 have been brilliant.It’s great to be back with my friends after the holidays.THe practice common entrance papers wern’t as bad as I thought and I was very pleased with my mark.I am really enjoying my responsibilities being house captain and science monitor.Although we havn’t had a house assembely yet,green house are having fun with designing competitions,looking after the other house members and planning the house assembly.Today we are playing in a netball tournament at Barrow Hills.It’s only a fun tournament,but i’m still determined to win.I’m playing at goal attack,but as it’s a versitility tournament we change positions every half time.If we win this,we will have won all the tournaments that we have ever played.

    These blogs are really fun and I will allways try to keep it up to date.

I’m interested in exploring a way of getting a sample of these set up as a class blogg, to still let them have some publicly accessible space on the web, despite our worries about access.

Not having a WYSIWYG editor is great! I’m being subjected to far less OTT formatting than I’m used to, and they’re learning a few HTML tags, which can’t be a bad thing – we’ve got as far as hyperlinking. I dread to think what things will look like if we get as far as editing the CSS files, though.

A good number went on to write about stuff not related to school, which I’m hoping to encourage, and we’ve had a scattering of coments on others’ blog entries. A few more have started using it in their own time too, and there’s a good mix of school / non-school subject matter in these posts. They’ve also had a chance to go back to their profiles and add more detail, as I found myself covering a PSRE lesson.

One issue facing me now is about the images – even though we’ve closed off access to blogs and profiles to the outside world, it seems that anyone can get as far as a page with the users name and image, which is a big no-no in our context – so short of some .htaccess unpleasantness I think it’s got to be icons, avatars and symbolism, rather than digital photos – this may be no bad thing. A little semiotics never hurt anyone.

Having promised them v0.3 this week, I think they may also be about to learn the virtue of patience, yes?

One other feature requests or support queries whilst I’m at it: we love the ‘All Weblog Posts’ link – is there a way to get an RSS feed of this? What if all the posts are only available to logged in users? It’d be cool to have this feeding into our Moodle courses.

http://eduspaces.net/mberry/weblog/2584.html