Challenge 10 – Evaluation

bye! Well here we are – the final challenge for the March 2013 student blogging challenge. I think everyone who has taken part has enjoyed most of the challenges and learned some new skills. Many of you have visited lots of other students posts and I have seen some excellent comments on posts.

But like all topics you study at school, you generally have to have a test or evaluation. We do the same here at the challenge – mainly to see how you have improved in your blogging over the past three months but also to evaluate the challenge.

So there are two things we would like you to complete this week – a personal blog audit and a survey about the challenge itself.

Survey of your blog

This is an audit of your blog since the beginning of March 2013.

  • 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?

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:

  • What were your first impressions of this blog?
  • What captured your attention?
  • What distracted you on the blog?
  • What suggestions can you give me to improve my blog?

Write a post about your blog evaluation and audit.

 

Survey of the actual student blogging challenge

We want your ideas about the challenge. Most questions are tick a box or write a short answer. Please only tick ONE box in each question.


Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Rakka via Compfight

Challenge 9 – Game Week

Wanna play?Game week is all about visiting other blogs.

Student and class blogs – new bloggers and old hands at the blogging – mentors as well as participants.

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 and have read the previous comments before they leave one of their own. Good commenters add to the conversation with a quality comment – remember that video from Mrs Yollis’ class.

Game 1

This is one 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:

  • click on a blog on the student list – count one
  • now click on a blog from their blogroll – count two
  • finally click on a blog from that blogroll – count three

Leave a comment on an interesting post at this third blog.

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 so that student gets a pingback or trackback.

Game 2

I got the idea for this game from Em, who is our youngest student blogger. She has taken part in many challenges and she wrote a post about her favourite posts. So thanks Em for the idea.

This is a new game for this challenge. We have many mentors helping you with your blogging. Most of them are busy teachers with their own class blog or else they are students who have taken part in many prior challenges. I have asked some mentors to write a post highlighting what they consider interesting posts for students to read. Here are the instructions for this game:

  1. Choose at least two of these mentor posts to visit.
  2. Read their post and visit the links they include.
  3. Answer the question left on their post by leaving them a quality comment. This should show you have visited the posts they link to.
  4. Now write your own post including three posts you have found interesting while taking part in this March blog challenge. Could include posts you have written or ones you have read while visiting other students.

Mrs Norton‘s class blog, Mrs Coffa as a guest post on Middle Matters blog, Ethan student mentor, Jakob student mentor, Isaiah student mentor, Astaneh who mentored the older students, Merrybeau class blog, Mrs Tharp‘s class blog

While checking out these blogs look at the layout of the sidebars as well as the layout of the posts. Compare to yours. This might help with the evaluation week activities next week.

If using Kidblog or blogger, leave a comment on this game week post with a link to the post you have written – if using Edublogs just leave a pingback in your actual post.

More time left: Continue on with your favourite things post especially if you want to be included in the list of thirty who have included the images, tags/category and using another tool.

Still more time left: Miss W is travelling around the southern states of USA during June before going to a conference in San Antonio. Recommend 10 places she should visit as she is interested in history and nature.
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Patrick Q via Compfight

Visit, visit, visit

Some more great posts from the last few challenges.

Some posts from our week on digital footprints: Anthony, Jess, Clyde, Kiegan, Cristian, Jack, Danny, Estevan, Yami, Lupita, Michelle, Edith, Brisa, Berenice, Alyjah, Steph, Alma, Leslie, Yesenia, Juan, Areli, Cullen, Amanda, Cristina, Mari, Letty, Daniela, Paloma, Jewel, Chelsea, Lisa, Pateep, Romeo, Ruthy, Wiem, Matt, McDaniel, Carson, Tori, Arwa, Sophia, Christian, Alejandro, Tylor, Esmer, Weisen, Johnny, Pyper, JoshD,

Secrets hidden in the forest posts: Arwa, Wiem, Jamie, Matt, Jade, Charlotte and Cole, Molly, Aragon, Jewel, Brenna uses a new storytelling tool, Anthony, Hayley and Devon have great ideas for what is in the forest, Jessica wrote a story about the forest and its secrets,

Other interesting posts: Jessica, Caitlyn, Callie, EmilyK, Emilee, Snowfuzz on the butterfly garden at their school, Nya wrote about a field trip, Alexander asks should animals be held in captivity, Hannah‘s image post, Julia wrote about shoebills, Kali‘s image post, Merrybeau have some great audioboos, Maryem on animes, Wiem on being positive, Tylor has only just started the challenge, Tylor included an excellent poem relating to the image, Laura has just started the challenge and wrote a great diary post,

Family members writing posts: Lillian’s mum, Fatima writes about her cousin in the military,

Mentors: Jake is writing a series of posts for his secret in the forest, Helen O links to our students using Kidblog, Challenge 5 kidblog posts, Challenge 6 kidblog posts,

Educational games and apps to visit: David, Kalee, May, Lisa, Daisy,

 

There will be one final visit these post at the end of the challenge.

It will include those thirty posts about favourite things – remember to be included you have to have tags and /or category, 10 things in paragraphs, images with attribution and you creating something using a new tool like a collage, Voki, slideshow. Check back to challenge 8 to find the instructions.

I will also be including any posts recommended by mentors – I would like all mentors to find at least two posts they really enjoyed reading that we could include on this final post for the challenge. Teachers with class blogs might also like to recommend two posts especially if using Kidblog or blogger platform.

Challenge 8 – Favourites

Swinging in the sunset
This week was going to be the game week but it has to be postponed until next week. So far only two mentors have replied to the email I sent about them helping out in the second game.

So really this week is going to be the last week for you to prove to your teachers what you have learnt about blogging.

The activities this week will involve you doing the following:

  • adding hyperlinks so your readers can find out more on the topic
  • adding images with correct attribution
  • adding categories and tags to your posts
  • being able to write in paragraphs about a topic
  • stretching your imagination by using a tool other than writing

Again the activity relates to the number 10.

Write a post about 10 of your favourite things. It can’t be ten movies or ten games, but must be about ten different things.

Some examples could be:

  • movie star
  • book to read
  • place to travel in the future
  • invention ever made
  • blog post you have written
  • etc, etc, etc

This post will be ten paragraphs long, one for each of your favourite things.  In at least three of your paragraphs include a link to another website. Include at least two images related to your favourite things. Make sure you have tagged and categorized your post.  Use a tool other than writing to tell us about one of your favourite things eg include a video or Voki or audioboo or slideshow – the list is endless.

As I am expecting fantastic posts for this, you will have two weeks to do this. Next week will be the two games and the final week will be an evaluation of the challenge, so really make a great effort on this post.

If you are using Kidblog or blogger, please leave a comment on this post when you have finished yours. I have been checking with Edublogs and apparently the pingbacks and trackbacks are only working for Edublog blogs not for any other platform. So the only way I will know if you have completed this activity is if you leave a comment on this post and include the URL of your post.

Just before the last challenge I will write a post highlighting the thirty bloggers and five classes I feel have done a great job with this post. They will have included links, images, other tool, tags and category as well as having left a comment on this post or if using Edublogs sent a pingback to me.

Good luck everyone on this post that will show off to your teachers what you are capable of doing using your blog!

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Gail Delderfield via Compfight

Challenge 7 – freedom again

FelicitàOur last three challenges have been fairly serious – adding images to your blog posts, how to get comments and visitors to your blog and looking at your digital footprint.

This week your sole activity is to make sure you are ready for a game we will be playing next week – in fact there will be two games happening.

To play either game you will need:

  •  a user avatar if possible
  • an ‘about me’ PAGE if using Edublogs or a post if using other platforms
  • a clustrmap or flag counter widget
  • at least four interesting posts – could be topics of your choice not necessarily from the challenge
  • your ‘Recent Comments’ widget on the sidebar with 10 comments as the choice – Edublogs
  • your ‘Recent Posts’ widget on the sidebar with 10 posts as the choice – Edublogs
  • Your ‘Pages’ widget on the sidebar or pages in the header – Edublogs
  • at least 10 student and/or classes linked on your blogroll
  • at least three overseas blogs on your blogroll
  • the more students or classes you have linked on your blog, the more fun the game will be

The most important of these are the links to other student blogs on your sidebar. Try to have a couple of different headings like

  • My Friends
  • Class Blogs
  • Overseas Blogs

Having lots of  links to student blogs from other countries will help spread the game.

Here are the instructions for adding links to your sidebars.

Edublogs, Blogger, Kidblog – not sure if this widget goes on the class page or each student page

Have you written lots of interesting posts for your visitors to read next week?

Use this week to get some written or use some new tools to create some stories to add to your blog posts.
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: luca nisalli via Compfight

Challenge 6 – Digital footprints

When does your digital footprint start?

  • When you start putting information online in your blog?
  • When you join Facebook or Twitter?
  • When you join Animoto or YouTube?

Check out this video about your digital dossier or footprint and how information can be gathered about you.

Commonsense media has lots of videos about your digital footprint. Check out this one from Abbas.

The following activities are for middle school and high school students rather than primary/elementary grades.

Activity 1: Do you have a different personality when you are online? Think about your avatar, your status updates, music you upload, your images and your blog. Would someone who knows you in real life recognize you online? Check out this slideshow from the NY Times.  Write a post about your personality online. Why do you think some people exaggerate or change their identity when they are online?

Activity 2: What can strangers learn about you online? Could your friend Google your name and find out lots of information about you? Do you have your birthdate, your email address, your home address, your cell phone number somewhere online? Google yourself or maybe your teacher will let you Google them. What do you find out? In your post, don’t give out the private information you found.

Activity 3: Are you on Facebook? Have you checked the privacy help pages? Read through them and write a post about something that surprised you about the settings? Did you change some of your settings after reading the information? Why? Here is another article on Facebook privacy settings.

Teachers:

You might like to read this post by Kathleen Morris (Australia) about teaching students about the digital footprints. She includes resources for all grades.

The following activities are for all  grades.

Activity 4. Write a post about your favourite tool to embed on your blog

Many students mentioned they wanted to know about some more web2.0 tools they could use on their blog. So here is your chance to promote a favourite web2.0 tool. Remember to create a link in your post so your readers can visit the site you are recommending. A new one many students in my class like using is Storybird. Your teacher can create a class account, then when your book has been moderated by your teacher they can embed a story in your blog. Or you can do what Lauren has done and create a post with links to your storybirds.

Activity 5. What is digital citizenship?

Play this game about digital citizenship. How well did you go? Write a post telling your readers about digital citizenship – what you should do rather than what you shouldn’t do. Maybe you would prefer to create a book, poster or video about digital citizenship. Some web2.0 tools you might use with parental or teacher permission glogster, goanimate, audioboo or flipbook.

Activity relating to number 10

What 10 educational games or iPad apps should all students be able to use at school? Give reason why it is considered educational.

Activity relating to blogging

One way to find information easily on the internet is using tags. Photos, geocaches, maps and posts are all tagged in some way. For example this post has been tagged by me with ‘digital footprint’ and ‘Facebook’. This means when I want to write a post again about a digital footprint in the next blogging challenge, I can just click on the tag and up will come all my posts about footprints.

On your blog, you need to start using tags and/or categories. Here are some examples:

  • Category: Book Reviews   Tags: names of authors, genres, name of book
  • Category: Special events  Tags: athletic carnival, birthday, Earth Hour, Dr Seuss birthday
  • Category: Holidays  Tags: Easter, Spring Break, ANZAC Day, Martin Luther King Day
  • Category: Student posts  Tags: name of each student

If using Edublogs, you create post categories under your dashboard>posts>categories

If using Edublogs, tags are created the same place but dashboard>posts>tags

You can add categories and tags on the main page when you are writing your post. These are usually found on the right side under the big blue publish button.

If you have already written a post and haven’t included categories/tags, then go to dashboard>posts>all posts  Under the post find the quick edit and click on that. You now have options to add categories and tags without opening the whole post.

Visiting other blogs

I hope classes and students are visiting lots of other blogs and leaving great comments. I have seen some fantastic conversations happening. Remember to add the student name and blog URL to your dashboard>links if you want to visit that person often.

Challenge 5 – Secrets

Sorry I am late getting this post out, but I have just spent a great time with my dad (in his 80′s). We went on a tour to the Top of the World in Maydena, Tasmania. I saw this sign in the forest so this week’s number 10 challenge relates to my image.

What could the secret be that is hidden in the forest?

You could make a list or write a story about the image, maybe use a comic strip with 10 frames or a flip book with 10 pages. Get creative.

Improving your blog:

In a couple of weeks time, we will be playing a commenting game. You need to be ready for it. Make sure the following things have been done:

  •  a user avatar if possible
  • an ‘about me’ PAGE if using Edublogs or a post if using other platforms
  • a clustrmap or flag counter widget
  • at least four interesting posts – could be topics of your choice not necessarily from the challenge
  • your ‘Recent Comments’ widget on the sidebar with 10 comments as the choice – Edublogs
  • your ‘Recent Posts’ widget on the sidebar with 10 posts as the choice – Edublogs
  • Your ‘Pages’ widget on the sidebar or pages in the header – Edublogs
  • at least 10 student and/or classes linked on your blogroll – in kidblog it is a blog directory
  • at least three overseas blogs on your blogroll
  • the more students or classes you have linked on your blog, the more fun the game will be

How are you going getting comments from people other than your classmates?

Have you received comments from overseas visitors?

Has anyone in your family left a comment? Remember you might need to teach them how to leave a comment.

Activity 1: Write a post about your family – include their interests, where you might have been together as a family. Remember to include grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. Dawso wrote about her dad, Dawso wrote about her family, Alexandra wrote about her family,

Activity 2: Encourage family members to leave comments on your posts over the next few weeks. Check out Mrs Yollis and her class who celebrate family blogging month in November.

Activity 3: How can you increase the number of comments on your blog? Write a post about ways to get more comments on your blog. Be creative and think outside the square – can you find at least ten ways to get more visitors and comments? You might want to make a poster for this activity - glogster or notaland remember to get permission from parents or teacher to join.

Activity 4: Have a family member write a post for you to add to your blog. They could write it and email or post it to you. Does this post attract more visitors or family members leaving comments? One family member regularly blogs on Mrs Yollis’ blog – Where is nonno?   Clarissa’s brother wrote, Matt’s dad wrote, Ryan’s dad wrote,

Activity 5: Interview a family member and write a post about them – include the interview recording. You could use audioboo online or from your phone then upload the file to your blog.

Activity 6: Write a post about the overseas blogs you have commented on – why did you choose that blog and particular post?

Remember to include a hyperlink back to this post on your blog. I am still trying to find out why Kidblog and Blogger pingbacks aren’t working on my blogs. When they do work, I will suddenly have hundreds of blogs to look at.

Challenge 4 – Using images in posts

 

You Sexy ThangEven though this is a week of freedom, I feel we need a post about using images.

Can you use any image on the internet?

No you can’t.

You can use images that are creative commons where the owner has given you permission to use the image as long as you include attribution. Here is a chart about the different licenses for images. There are many websites and search tools on the web for finding images that are creative commons. Some of these give you the attribution in an easy format as well. The one I have found easiest to use is compfight.

If using images from Wikimedia, here is a post about their licensing and what is acceptable by them. Here is their post about using wikimedia commons outside of wikimedia.

If you are administrator on an Edublogs or campus Edublogs platform blog, check out the plugins in your dashboard. Do you have one there called Compfight? If yes then activate it and look at the settings. These are the settings I use.

Once you have activated and checked your settings, the icon next to the word Compfight will now appear in your post dashboard next to the other insert/upload icons. To add a creative commons image to your blog post is now only one click away. You also have attribution  included.

How to add the image and attribution.

  • 1. Write your complete post.
  • 2. At the end of your post on a new line, click on the compfight icon.
  • 3. Put in your search term and find a small image that you want to use.
  • 4. Click on the S under the image.
  • 5. Now the image you chose and the attribution is at the bottom of your post.

Moving and aligning your image

You will notice most images I use are in the top right corner of my post with writing to the left of that image. How do I do that?

  • 1. Click on the image and drag it so the cursor is at the beginning of the first line on my post.
  • 2. Click on the image and click on the first icon you see. This will take you to an area where you can align the image to the right.
  • 3. Click on the advanced settings tab of this page and put 10 in both the vertical and horizontal boxes. This will now give me a space around the image so my writing doesn’t run right into the image.
  • 4. Now update.

For those who don’t have the compfight plugin

You can still find images easily at the Compfight website.

  • 1. Put in your search term.
  • 2. Once the images are shown, on the left sidebar make sure these words are in black – tags only, creative commons, show originals, safe and pop up on
  • 3. Choose an image below the dotted line – these are free and creative commons now
  • 4. Save the small version of the image to your computer – change the filename to something relating to the image instead of the numbers
  • 5. Copy the code in the box
  • 6. Back to your blog post which you have already written - at the bottom on a new line paste in the code using Ctrl V – change the tab from visual to HTML before pasting the code – then change back to visual to add your image.
  • 7. Click at the beginning of the line where you want your image to appear.
  • 8. Use the insert image icon at the top of your post, to find and download the image you have now saved on your computer drive.
  • 9. Once the image has been crunched and downloaded, you can align the image to the right.
  • 10. Click on the advanced settings tab of this page and put 10 in both the vertical and horizontal boxes. This will now give you a space around the image so your writing doesn’t run right into the image. Now update.

If using a blogging platform other than Edublogs, check out the help sites linked below.

Blogger or blogspot or kidblog

Other websites or tools for images, clip art etc

You will need to work out how to get the attribution to put on your posts.

Morguefile – a great post explaining how to use including attribution

Open ClipArt

Flickrcc – Here is a post I have written about using flickrcc

Pics4learning – A post I have written about using this website.

Activities relating to images

  • If you have used images in previous posts, go back and give attribution for the images. If they are not creative commons, GNU or fair play, then you will need to take the images out of your posts.
  • Write a post about your passions and find an appropriate image to include. Remember attribution needed.
  • Find a great image and write a post about it.

 Activity relating to the number 10

Put together an animoto, slideshow, poster or collage on a theme using 10 images you have found eg Animals at the zoo. Remember to add attribution as an image at the end of the animoto or slideshow. Include attribution with each image on your collage or poster.

Do you have any other great sites for finding images, clipart, music, sounds etc?

Please leave a comment on this post so other readers can share your knowledge.


Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Nick Wheeler via Compfight

Challenge 3 – Get creative

1988403964_11b486821fWhich of last week’s  activities did you complete?

  • Post about a passion
  • Post about 10 dream jobs
  • Added tags and categories to all your previous posts
  • Added links to your blogroll
  • Checked out Earth Hour website and joined
  • Post about a special event
  • Research a famous person listed
  • Leave comments on other blogs using the special codes from Mrs Yollis’ blog

While reading tweets on Twitter or reading other teachers’ blog posts, I get the feeling that creativity is being left out of many school curriculums. So this week, we are going to get creative.

Challenge with number 10

I have just finished washing my clothes and found one sock that is now full of holes. I can’t use it as a sock, but list 10 other ways I could use the sock.

Think creatively. You might want to use one of these tools. Remember to leave a link in your post back to this post.

  • Automatoon will not work with Internet Explorer but great way to create an animated movie.
  • Another great site is goanimate – teachers there is an education version of this as well
  • Kerpoof is great for all ages
  • Voki allows you to type or speak what you want the character to say
  • Audioboo – create whatever you want to say on your blog then embed it. Check out Em’s blog for examples.
  • Create a book that flips the pages at flipsnack. Check out the other links at the bottom as well.
  • Make beliefs comics are great for your creativity
  • Little Bird Tales for creative writing
  • Magnetic poetry – create a poem using their words, take a screen shot or submit to their gallery and put link in your post
  • Use Fotobabble  or Blabberize to create a movie or book trailer
  • Create your own art work at artpad
  • Sketching with odopod
  • Use Toondoo to make a comic or embed a book you create there

Challenge to improve your blog

When adding widgets to your sidebars, like a pet, often they might overlap a little into your post column. How do you change this? Maybe just moving the widget to the right hand side sidebar will solve the problem. Otherwise ….

Knowing a little about HTML code will help.

  • Before copying the code from the website make sure the width is no bigger than 180-200 pixels. Check out this post I wrote about adding a cyber pet to your sidebar.
  • Some of you may have noticed that your challenge badge is not circular – that is because the code was not quite right. Thanks to Ronnie Burt, it has now been corrected.  If your badge is more oval shaped, go to your dashboard>appearance>widgets and open the widget for your badge. Look for the code and find where it says width and height. Each of those numbers should be 200. Make your changes, then save, and finally close. Does your badge look better now?
  • Leaving a comment with the URL of your blog in it can be done more neatly by using some code – check out Mrs Yollis’ blog post to find the code to add your URL in a comment. It is included in the section for advanced bloggers about how to add a hyperlink to a comment.

Other challenge posts to do

What is your school doing for Earth Hour this year? Maybe you could do something at school this Friday then take part as a family on the Saturday evening. Check out the ideas here.

 

Use some of the tools mentioned in the challenge for number 10 to do one of the following. Remember to leave a link in your post back to this post.

  • write a creative story including energy efficiency somewhere in the plot
  • write about reducing, reusing and recycling – fits in with Earth Hour
  • look at energy use in your school – what is wasted? How could this change?
  • look at energy use in your home – how could it be improved?
  • do you have a solar model challenge in your state? Check out the results for Tasmania where I live. Here is the world solar challenge. Students designing fuel efficient cars
  • apparently some schools in New York compete to reduce consumption over winter
  • design an energy  efficient house – explain where the efficiencies can be found – maybe make a model and take photos to put in your blog
  • research energy efficiency – here is one from Africa, Mexico, wildlife vs energy,
  • if you or your school took part in an Earth Hour activity, write a post about it

Leaving comments:

We have students and classes from the following countries taking part in the challenge.

Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Russia, Tunisia, Trinidad and Tobago, Serbia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Indonesia, Ireland, Honduras

Visit a student from at least 6 countries (not your own) and ask a question about energy or creativity. Remember to read previous comments so you don’t ask the same question. If they have a box at the end of the comments about being notified of replies, tick this box so you will receive an email when someone answers your question.

If you have comments left on your blog, make sure you reply to the commenter. This is how conversations happen. Also make sure you check your spam folder as comments with links often get put in here.

When leaving a comment, use that special HTML code to include the URL of your blog.

Photo Credit: World Bank Photo Collection via Compfight cc

Get your Student blogging challenge badge

We know students, classes and our helpers love having a badge or widget on their blog showing they are taking part in the student blogging challenge.

So here they are!

Just pick the badge that suits you and then follow the instructions below for adding to your blog.

You won’t need to crop or resize the badges as they are 200 pixels in width.

HTML code for Class and Student Blogs

Student Challenge mentor

HTML code for Mentor Blogs

Adding your badge(s) to your blog is as easy as:

1. Copy the HTML code for the required badge(s).

2.  Go to Appearance > Widgets in your Dashboard.

3.  Drag and drop a Text Widget into your sidebar.


4.  Now just paste your HTML code into the text widget, then click Save and Close.

Or if you are using an Edublogs Pro blog you can add using the Image Widget by following these instructions.