Week 10: Farewell from the 18th challenge

This is our last post for the Student Blogging Challenge until we start again in October 2017. I hope you have enjoyed the activities and the chance to make connections with other students and classes around the world.

I would like to thank the mentors for taking time to visit and comment on student blogs. I would also like to thank those students aged 16+ who took on the role of mentors.

We have had a great 10 weeks of blogging. You have learnt so many skills to help you improve your blogs. Many of you have improved those writing skills or maybe digital skills with using a variety of tools to embed on your blog. But it is now time to evaluate your progress as well as the progress of the blogging challenge itself.

This week there are two things to do:

  1. Evaluate your own blog
  2. Evaluate the actual blogging challenge

1. This is an audit of your blog since the beginning of March 2017.

  • How many posts did you write?
  • How many were school based, your own interests or set by the challenge?
  • How many comments did you receive from classmates, teachers or overseas students?
  • Which post received the most comments? Why do you think that happened?
  • Which post did you enjoy writing the most and why?
  • Did you change blog themes at all and why?
  • How many widgets do you have? Do you think this is too many or not enough?
  • How many overseas students do you have on your blogroll?
  • Which web tools did you use to show creativity on your blog?

Now ask another student and teacher/parent from your school who might not have read your blog to do an audit.

Sit beside them while they navigate around your blog, record what you observe as they interact with your blog. When finished, ask them the following questions:

  1. What were your first impressions of this blog?
  2. What captured your attention?
  3. What distracted you on the blog?
  4. What suggestions can you give me to improve my blog?

Write a post about your blog audit.

2. Evaluating the challenge.

This is the eighteenth challenge and sometimes I feel like the activities are getting stale especially for those students who have taken part in more than one set of challenges. So over the next few weeks I will be adding new pages that you all can contribute to. Every month of the year, there are special events, festivals, birthdays of authors etc. Which ones do you think it would be interesting to write about? Find the post ideas page for that month and add your ideas in the comments. (These are found above the header area)

I usually have a form to fill in here but this time I would like you to leave a quality comment giving your opinion of the challenge. You might want to mention some of the following things:

  • the most interesting challenge for you
  • how often you visited other blogs and left comments
  • whether you read the challenge flipboard magazine
  • a PMI or plus/minus/interesting point about the challenge
  • the most important thing you learnt while doing the challenge

Thanks again for taking part in this challenge. Hopefully you will take part again in October this year. If you have taken part in at least two sets of challenges, you can also become a mentor, so watch out for the mentor post in late September.

Keep writing, keep reading the magazine, and if you have a great post you would like me to add to the magazine over the summer/winter break, feel free to leave a comment here.

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Week 9: Have I improved?

O, Let Me Ne'er Forget

Mike Trimble via Compfight

So we are one week away from the end of the challenge. Do you think you have improved your blogging skills since you began earlier this year?

Now is your chance to prove your skills

Activity 1

Write the very best post you can for your teachers and visitors to read.

Remember essentials for a great post:

  1. catchy title
  2. includes at least one visual (with attribution) whether photo, cartoon, video or another web 2.0 tool like padlet or glogster
  3. interesting topic with the passion of the author coming through
  4. well written and not copy/pasted from somewhere else
  5. shows it has been proofread and spellchecked
  6. written in paragraphs – at least three of them
  7. includes links to other websites on similar topics – at least two of these
  8. ends with a question to lure your visitors into leaving a comment

Your choice of topics: only write about one of them

  • History
  • Inventions
  • Travel

When you have finished your post and your teacher has published it, then return here to leave a link to the post. We still have some students just leaving a link to their blog rather than the exact post.

Activity 2

Do you have a favourite blog (not from your class though) that you visit often?

Write a post about that blog and why you keep going back there. Remember to include links to a couple of posts they have written. Also leave a comment on their blog to say you have written a post about them.

Still got time left

Visit other blogs and leave quality comments.

Read the magazine and visit posts to leave comments on.

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Week 8: Games and more games

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Creative Commons License Hurca! via Compfight

There are two activities this week and they are in the form of a game. They involve visiting other blogs, leaving quality comments and writing a post about the comments you left.

Before playing the games, make sure your blog is ready for visitors.

  1. You have lots of interesting posts for visitors to read and comment on.
  2. Visitors can find posts by using tags or categories on your sidebar.
  3. You have a visitor widget to see where your visitors are coming from.
  4. You have at least five student blogs from other places around the world on your sidebar.

Game week is all about visiting other blogs.

Remember one of  the main aims of blogging includes commenting and carrying on conversations with the author of posts and their other readers.

A good commenter will have:

  • read the post carefully,
  • checked out the links in the post
  • read the previous comments before they leave one of their own
  • added to the conversation with a quality comment – remember that video from Mrs Yollis’ class.
  • included a link to their own blog or a similar post on their own blog

Game 1: 

This is a game we have run for many challenges and allows you to connect globally.  Those who have taken part in a challenge before know the game of  ‘Count Out Three’. Here are the instructions:

  1. click on a blog on the student list or class list– count one
  2. now click on a blog from the new student’s blogroll – count two
  3. finally click on a blog from that new blogroll – count three
  4. leave a comment on an interesting post at this third blog.

Teachers: If you are moderating student comments, please make sure you are up-to-date with that this week as students can be very disappointed when they think they have no comments, yet many are in the moderation queue ready to be published.

Students: Make sure you are also replying to any comments that have been left for you.

Do this activity at least three times and finally, write your own post saying which blogs you visited and which posts you left a comment on. Why did you choose that post? Remember to include a link back to the post you left a comment on.

Game 2:

This is a new one I have thought of to add to the challenge. Many great student posts are being flipped to the #17stubc Flipboard magazine, but I am not sure how many of you have actually checked them out. So here are the instructions for this game.

  1. Click on the flipboard magazine link here
  2. Click on the title of the post of what looks like an interesting image or a catchy title
  3. You should now be taken to the actual blog post, read it and leave a comment
  4. Come back to the magazine again and repeat two more times

Write a blog post mentioning the blog posts you read and the comment you left.

Get to it – start visiting and leaving quality comments that show you have read the post. 

How many quality comments could you leave this week? Can you leave 10, 20 or maybe 50?

Write a post about the commenting you have done this week or throughout the challenge so far.

  • What have you enjoyed about commenting?
  • What is annoying about commenting?
  • How have you found interesting posts to comment on?
  • Are your posts getting lots of quality comments? Why or why not?

Create a list of great comment starters to help new students to blogging. There are some lists on the web but try to create your own. Here are a couple of examples from Anne Davis:

  •  Another thing to consider is…….
  • I can relate to this…….
  • This makes me think of…….

Write a quick post then include 5 great examples of comments as part of the post – use some interesting comment starters for each comment.

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Week 7: Footprints

This week we are talking about our digital footprint.

Being connected with all this technology means everyone is leaving a digital footprint.

Activity 1. Watch the following 2 videos then leave a comment on this post about something that you found very interesting in one of the videos. Write a post explaining the differences between the videos. Which did you prefer and why? These show how easily a footprint can be created. It is not only you but your relatives, friends, newspapers etc also add to your footprint.

 

 

Activity 2. After watching the two videos, write a post about your digital footprint. Is it positive or negative? Would you be proud to have your grandparents or your future grandchildren look at everything you have included in your digital footprint? Why or why not? Maybe Google your name to see what is online about you, that you might not have put there. Remember to Google your nickname used in online games etc as information might be included there.

Activity 3. Imagine you are debating this topic: It is better to have a negative digital footprint than no footprint at all. Give three reasons to support each side of the debate.

Activity 4.  With so many students now involved in social media such as facebook, instagram, pinterest and twitter, how much information are they leaving by not checking their privacy settings but leaving things on default?

Watch this video to see how easy it is to find out information about you. Jenny Luca, director of ICT and eLearning at a college in Australia used this with her grade 7-12 students. Read her post to find out their reactions. Jenny then directed me to another tweet from Doug Peterson in Canada linking to this post from lifehacker.

Why is it important to check out the settings whenever you buy a new device? Default settings often allow the manufacturer to gain information about you without you realising it.

 

Activity 5. Should all teachers,principals and parents have a digital footprint in this time of technology? Google your teacher or principal (with their permission first) or even your parents. What have they got online? Do they have some information you think should not be there? Discuss it with them. Write a post about the discussion you had without giving away personal information to your readers.

You also leave a footprint when you sign up to join websites such as Moshi Monsters, Voki, Animoto and photopeach.  Do you ever check the terms of service or privacy settings? Have you joined a site that says you must be over 13 years old yet you are only 10?

During 2017 I am going to be adding to our list of web tools to use in the challenge (see list on sidebar) I am going to be sorting them according to how old you have to be to use them, whether they are free or you have to sign up, whether there is an education version or not and whether that is free or paid and finally what is the tool/app used for.

Activity 6. I would like your help to get the list organized. Write a post about 5 of your favourite web tools or apps. In your post mention how old you need to be to use it, whether you had to sign up to use it and what type of tool or app it is eg mindmapping, poll/survey, slideshow. Also tell me why you enjoy using the tool or app.

Activity 7. Here are some websites to visit related to cybersafety and digital footprints. Visit some of them and write a post, create a poster or glogster, create a cartoon about what you found out. Your teacher might also give you other websites to visit.

Activity 8. Mainly middle and high school students – There are 9 elements to being a good digital citizen. Read this post then write your own post about what you consider are the most important parts of the nine elements. Are there certain areas you need to improve on? Why?

Activity 9. There are both advantages and disadvantages to being able to connect and communicate more easily. Write a post or run a debate on this topic. Maybe create a comic strip showing each side.

Security

Teachers

Here are some links to  sites relating to digital footprints and internet safety

Still time left

Check your widgets. Do you have one called Class blogs? If yes, then add it to your sidebar. Use the drop down arrow and make sure the number is 30 or so to cover all the students in your class.

Visit other student and class blogs, read our new flip magazines, add links to your blogroll of blogs you visit often. Try to categorize these eg class blogs, overseas students, my friends etc.

Before playing the games next week, make sure your blog is ready for visitors.

  1. You have lots of interesting posts for visitors to read and comment on.
  2. Visitors can find posts by using tags or categories on your sidebar.
  3. You have a visitor widget to see where your visitors are coming from.
  4. You have at least five student blogs from other places around the world on your sidebar.

 

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Week 6: What to write about??

Cabra hispanica Montserrat

Pedro Luna Guillen via Compfight

In a couple of weeks, we will be playing a commenting game. But you need to get prepared for this.

Make sure you have at least 5 other student blogs linked on the sidebar of your blog, in a page near your header area or in a recent post that your visitors can find easily. Make sure these are blogs from other students around the world, not just those in your class or school. Perhaps have a blogroll or link category called Global students or Global classes. Here is how to add a blogroll if using Edublogs or Blogger. If using Kidblog write a post mentioning at least 5 great blogs you enjoy visiting.

Have some visitor widgets on your blog sidebar – maybe a revolver map or a flag counter – this way you can see where your visitors are coming from. Remember only one visitor in 30 will actually leave a comment.

Make sure your blog looks interesting:

  • Maybe change your header to suit what you are writing about.
  • Do your pets make a noise as soon as your blog is opened in a tab? That can be annoying so make sure the visitor can click on the sound button if they want to hear your animal pet.
  • Have you changed the tagline under the title of your blog?
  • Have you included some tags or categories to help your readers find a great post?
  • Does your background image make it hard for your visitors to read your posts?
  • Have you written some interesting posts for your visitors to comment on?

This week’s activity

Have some interesting posts for your visitors to read when they get to your blog.  I am not going to give any clues as to what to put in your posts but remember the following, especially if you want a post flipped to our magazine.

Having read many of your posts, I came up with the following essentials in a great post.

  1. catchy title
  2. includes at least one visual (with attribution) whether photo, cartoon, video or another web 2.0 tool like padlet or glogster
  3. interesting topic with the passion of the author coming through
  4. well written and not copy/pasted from somewhere else
  5. shows it has been proofread and spellchecked
  6. written in paragraphs – at least three of them
  7. includes links to other websites on similar topics – at least two of these

When you have finished your post, please come back here to the blogging challenge and leave a comment on this post. Mention what topic you wrote about and leave a link to your post. Those posts covering the seven things mentioned above will be added to the flipboard magazine. Many students are forgetting to add links to other websites relating to the topic they have written about.

Mentors:

Can you please check your students blogs this week and get back to me via email or comment with names of students who are not really participating in the challenge activities? By now students should have an about me page or post and at least two other posts relating to images, avatars, their family or culture, a global issue or how to comment.

Still more time left this week

  • Read some of the posts in the flipboard magazine – your teacher might want to create a class flipboard magazine to add to your class blog
  • Visit other classes this time in the lists above the header of the challenge blog.
  • Reply to any comments left on your blog especially if from a mentor.

UPDATE UPDATE

Some of you will notice the name of your country is in pink. This means you have not written enough posts for the challenge so far or mentors and visitors can’t leave a comment because they are being asked to login to your blog. When I am in Darwin over the next week, I will be starting to delete those student blogs and re-allocating other students to mentors instead.

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