Week 2: It’s a small world

Welcome to the second set of activities. But first a little bit of

ADMIN

Firstly, with over 1000 students now registered, I am sorting out mentors to be allocated to students. I don’t want one student to end up with  more than one mentor but this will happen if you are on the student list more than once. So PLEASE check the student list and leave a comment on this post if you are on there more than once. I will need your name, URL, country and age to make it easier for me to find you on the list.

Secondly, we still have some classes and students who have privacy settings not allowing others to read posts and/or comment. To check if this is you, go to your blog but DON’T login. Now  try reading and commenting. Are you allowed to? If not, then neither will your visitors. Please change the privacy settings. Any students or classes who still don’t allow comments by Easter will be deleted from the lists.

Thirdly, instead of filling in a Google form each week of the challenge, please come back to the post and leave a comment including the URL of your blog post.  In April I will be starting a new flipboard magazine and will be adding the great posts from both students and classes to that.

Now let’s get to the challenge.

Only 220 years ago, it used to take a sailing ship about 4 or 5 months to sail from England to Australia with convicts on board.  It took me 24 hours, including time zone changes, to fly from Australia to Vancouver, Canada with a short stop in Hawaii for a couple of hours. Yet it took only seconds for my class to connect  in 2008  when we used Skype to make a call.

Students born in the last twenty years  should be taking it for granted that they will be working collaboratively with students and teachers across the world using modern technology.

So this week’s challenge is to tell the world about the area you live in – your town, your state or province, your country in general. But hopefully you will also be having international visitors coming to your blog, so you need some way of knowing where they are coming from. There will be many options of what to do this week ranging from adding widgets, creating avatars, writing posts, leaving comments by visiting international blogs.

Activity 1 Adding widgets

When adding widgets to your sidebar, go to your dashboard>appearance>widgets> drag text box to sidebar area. Now copy and paste the embed code into your text box.

  • Save then close.
  • If the widget is too wide, you will have to adjust the number next to ‘width’ in the embed code.
  • This might appear more than once in the code.

If using blogger rather than Edublogs, you might need to check out the instructions for adding widgets and images etc from Bling For Your Blog, written by a teacher in New Zealand. Thanks Allanah.

Activity 2. So that you are known globally, you need to have an avatar that represents you.

But can’t I use a picture from Google?

No, most pictures on Google or other search engines are copyright and belong to someone else.

Here is a post with links to lots of different avatar sites for you to create an image that looks like you and here is a post for Edublogs or wordpress explaining how to upload your avatar. Blogpost or blogger students check here to upload, Kidblog check here,

Activity 3. Being such a small world now, many classes take part in global events such as Earth Hour (coming up very soon, so register this week), Safer Internet Day (back in February), Global Read Aloud Day (ideas for books needed), Pi Day (just passed) and Clean Up Day (just passed in Australia). Write a post or posts about special global events you or your class have taken part in. What did you learn from the event? Why should it be global?

Activity 3If I were to visit your state or province, what would be the ‘must see’ places and why?

Activity 4. Create a quiz about your state, country; this website is good for embedding a quiz. Try my quiz about Tasmania

Thanks to Celia for reminding me that this site is only for those over 13 years old.

Activity 5. Finally, just for fun, if you have completed one of the other activities perhaps you could try this activity.

When “daddysitting” my father who is just out of hospital, I asked him to give me an activity relating to the topic for this week. He said what about a story about the journey of a small animal like an ant. Remember be creative, use a different webtool and embed into your blogpost.

Still got time left this week:

  • Visit other student and class blogs and read the about pages. Leave quality comments.
  • Check out these maths challenges from Ms Hutchison’s class.

Remember, come back to this post and leave a comment when you have written your post or embedded your quiz. Include the URL of the actual post not just your blog in general.

Attribution: Image: ‘It’s a Small World!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035555243@N01/16600310

Challenge 2: My Place

Last week we learnt all about you – your interests, your favourite foods, music and lots of other things when you wrote your ‘About’ page. This week we are going to learn all about the area in which you live.

As many of you know, I will be visiting the USA and Canada (in fact I am in California now). When you write your posts or use web 2.0 tools, remember to be internet safe and not give away any personal information. Check with your teacher or parent, to find out if you can mention your school name or town.

But firstly, a few administration pointers.

Please check to make sure you have the following widgets visible on your blog’s sidebar: blog avatar, pages, recent comments, recent posts, blogroll or links, categories. If not using Edublogs, the names of these widgets might be different.

Have you made sure you are getting an email whenever someone leaves a comment on your blog so you can moderate this? It can be annoying for your mentor to go to your blog and find no comments have been approved for the last month or so.

In your profile page, do you have your blog URL included? – this links to your name for when you leave a comment.

Now let’s get to the activities.

Activity 1. Add a widget to find out where your commenters are coming from.

There are many different widgets you can use – clustrmaps, flag counter, feedjit  Have you seen any others while visiting blogs of other students? Maybe you could write a post about why you chose the  commenter widget you have put on your blog.

Activity 2. Add one or more widgets about your area of the world

This might include a clock or weather or a translator widget in case students who don’t speak your language can translate your post.

When adding widgets to your sidebar, copy and paste the embed code into a text box on your sidebar.

  • Save then close.
  • If the widget is too wide, you will have to adjust the number next to ‘width’ in the embed code.
  • This might appear more than once in the code.

If using blogger rather than Edublogs, you might need to check out the instructions for adding widgets and images etc from Bling For Your Blog, written by a teacher in New Zealand. Thanks Allanah.

If your blog is an Edublogs free blog, you might not be able to put all the widgets in your sidebar.

Activity 3. Write a post about a tourist attraction in the following  states or provinces.

Miss W and Mr Davo Devil will be visiting these states and provinces: California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and back to California. They enjoy visiting national parks and historical places. Where would you suggest they go while in those states and provinces? Suggest a tourist attraction in at least 5 places.

Activity 4. A year in your town

Write a post, create a glogster, make an audioboo tape, create a Storybird or add a Voki telling Miss W about the festivals held in your town throughout the year. Which festivals do you enjoy the most and why? When are the festivals held in case she can visit one while she is travelling? If under 13, check with your teacher or parent if you want to use a web 2.0 tool rather than writing a post in your blog.

Activity 5. Visit other participants and ask questions

Visit at least five other blogs from students or classes around the world and ask some questions in your comments. We have participants from Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Russia, Colombia, Taiwan, Greece and Indonesia taking part in the challenge.

Activity 6. Questions in a post

Write a post asking questions about the different countries mentioned in activity 5. Have at least 6 questions in your post.

Activity 7. Where I would love to visit and why

Write a post or use a web 2.0 tool telling your readers about a place you would love to visit and why. Try to include some hyperlinks (links that are underlined in your post and take your readers to another website)

Activity 8. Create a game or quiz about your town, state or country

A few places to do this include: Quiz Revolution, Class Tools,  Remember to check with your teacher or parent before using these web 2.0 tools. Sometimes your teacher or parent will create an account that is moderated by them and is therefore safe for students to use. Do you know any other places to create games and quizzes?

Copy this trackback link in any posts you write about these activities: Challenge 2 Sept 2011  so I will know to visit your blog and read your post or else leave a comment on this post directing me to your blog.

Attribution:

Image: ‘party in the sky

 

Testing Time -Challenge 6 -March 2011

I’ve been reading a few posts lately about testing time occurring in May in many countries. Here in Australia, we have our NAPLAN testing in literacy and numeracy for all students in grades 3, 5, 7 and 9. Many students have been learning how to write in a persuasive style as this is what the piece of written work will assess.

So this week’s challenges will relate to persuasive writing or something to do with testing.

I  asked last week for some more ideas for challenges, so I will also be using them.

Students and classes

Activity 1 – It’s a testing time

Write a post using a persuasive style of writing. You might like to use glogster to create a poster. Maybe wallwisher to get ideas from other students before you write your post.

Topics might include:

  • That mobile phones should be used in classrooms
  • That all students should have a personal blog from Grade 6 onwards
  • That all classes should have a class blog
  • That national or statewide testing has no valuable purpose for the student
  • A topic of your own choice

Activity 2 – Review time

Janis wrote a post about how April is review month ready for the big exams in May. Check out her suggestion for a post. This might be good for those students who have taken part in more than one of the student challenges last year and this year.

Activity 3 – Learning time

Think about something important you have learned outside of school – remember we should all be life long learners not just learners while at school. How did you learn it? Why is it important to you? Who or what taught you about it? How has this learning helped you in your life?

Activity 4 – Widget choice

Since you have been visiting lots of different student blogs, you will have noticed many widgets on sidebars of student blogs. Write a post about the widgets you have added to your blog and why you chose them.

Remember some widgets are for students 13+. Also if adding a music widget, try to have it on silent when your blog opens, or your visitors might be blasted with loud noises when they visit your blog.

Activity 5 – My regular visitors

Have you noticed in your comments, there are certain people visiting often? Or maybe, you have only had one or two visitors. How can you increase the number of visitors to your blog? How can you make sure they leave a comment and start conversations about your posts? Perhaps you could interview one of your regular commenters like Mikayla did in my class.

Activity 6 – Wordle your blog

Have you created a wordle from your blog? Check out the one Abbey created for one of our previous activities. If you have problems embedding your wordle, ask Abbey some questions or try to get rid of some of the extra spaces in the embed code. Remember if you do a printscreen and save as an image, you still need to give attribution to the wordle website.

Activity 7 – Internet safety

The students at our school recently had a drama performance by Bamboo Theatre company from Sydney who were touring around Tasmanian schools. Both students and staff found much interesting information about being safe on the web. Part of it was facebook and your settings. Have you had lessons on being internet safe? Do you use a certain program at school that teaches these things? Write a post about how you learn about internet safety.

Privacy on Facebook – these links might be more useful for the older students taking part in the challenge. How many of you have used default settings when joining Facebook?

Look at this post to see how much can be seen with default settings and how it has changed over the last five years. Here is a newspaper article showing the 170 different privacy settings you could be changing. Here is a tool that can scan your facebook settings and give you hints about where to make some changes. The links to these posts are from a post written by Jenny Luca. An interesting infographic about Facebook. Some statistics from the Facebook press room.

Now that you have checked out these posts, have you made any changes to your Facebook settings? Write a post about your use of Facebook and how it might be affecting your digital footprint on the web. Check out this post by Derek who I found last year by using the count out three game.

The game is on …. The game is on ….

The game is called count out three. Those students who have taken part in a student blogging challenge before will have already played this game. But we have many different students taking part in the challenge this year, so you should be visiting different blogs for the game in 2011.

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 blog.

Do this activity at least three times and finally, write your own post saying which blogs you visited and what 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.

Attribution:

Original image: ‘Family Computer

Family Computer

by: Alex Watson

Released under an Attribution-NonCommercial License

Get your badge

I know students and classes love having a badge or widget on their blog showing they are taking part in the student blogging challenge. I sent an email earlier this month to the people at Edublogs asking if they could design a badge for this challenge. Ronnie came back with a design which we have altered slightly depending if you are a student blogger, class blogger or mainly leaving comments.

Pick the badge that suits you and follow the instructions for adding to your blog. You might want to use it as a link to the student blogging challenge page. You shouldn’t need to crop or resize the badges as they are less than 170 pixels in width and height.

Sue Waters of The Edublogger fame has written a post showing how she puts images into her sidebar as widgets.

Teegan from New Zealand loves blogging and wrote a post especially on putting images with links in your sidebar. Maybe you can follow her instructions from this post.

Going global – Challenge 3-March 2011

How many students and classes do you think are taking part in this challenge?  If you guessed about 100 classes and 1300 students you were correct. In fact we are represented by 18 different countries of the world, so we are definitely going global.

This week’s activities relate to all things global – tracking widgets, maps, translators and other forms of global challenges.

Students

Activity 1How do you know where your visitors are coming from?

Do you have a widget tracking these visitors? If not,  then perhaps you could put one or more of these widgets on your blog.

Remember, if you have a free Edublogs blog, often you can’t embed widgets in your sidebar because of the coding.  Check if your teacher has a paid pro blog where they can then upgrade 50 student or teacher blogs, then you will be able to use code.

Can you recommend any other tracking widgets suitable for class or student blogs? Leave a comment if you can.

Activity 2 – How do you read a blog written in a language other than your mother tongue?

Natasa, a teacher of one of the class blogs, is located in Serbia and her blog is written in Serbian. How can you translate that page so you can read it in English or Spanish if that is your mother tongue? Do you leave a comment in English, your mother tongue or Serbian?

A visitor from Colombia has come across your blog and wants to read it in their mother tongue, how will they translate it?

A good idea would be for you to have a translator button or widget on your blog. Visit the widget box to find one that you think will do the job of translating your blog into another language. Add the widget the same as instructions for the flag counter.

Activity 3 – Write a post in another language

Most students around the world have to learn another language as part of their school curriculum. This might be a challenge for those who are just beginning their language learning but for students like Dominique, this should be a breeze. Make sure you have a translator widget on your blog to make it easier for your visitors to read the post.

Activity 4 – Write a post about a global activity you have taken part in

Have you taken part in :

  • World Maths or Spelling Day
  • World Water Day – this is happening on Tuesday, March 22 – theme is water for cities
  • Earth Hour – this is happening on Saturday, March 26 – see video in class section of challenge

These global events often have widgets or buttons you can embed on your blog.

Activity 5 – Leave a comment on ten blogs

Each blog must be from a different country of the world. Check out the list of students and classes taking part. Remember there are actually 18 countries represented – some have only one person taking part, so you might need to check carefully.

Classes

Activity 1 – Complete student activities 1, 2 and 4

What other types of global activities have you taken part in as a class? ePals, postcards from home, quadblogging – tell us about it in a great post with images if possible. Or write a post linking to other global activity posts you have already written about.

Activity 2 – Take part in Earth Hour this year and write a post about how students, teachers and families  spent that hour. Earth Hour began three years ago in Australia in one town – see how it has now grown to be a global activity.

Activity 3 – How many languages are spoken by the students in your class?

  • Is your class multicultural or is it predominantly a one language classroom?
  • What are some of the cultural activities you might celebrate in your classroom?
  • What do your students  celebrate at home?

Perhaps you could create a poll to put on your class blog and have parents and grand parents answer where they came from originally.

Perhaps one of them could write a post, with their child or grandchild, about a celebration from their country to put on your class blog.

Activity 4 – Visit at least ten blogs each from a different country

Remember when writing your posts to include a link back to this post.

http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/2011/03/20/going-global-challenge-3-march-2011/

……………………………….

Original image: ‘3d person and globe

3d person and globe

Released under an Attribution-NonCommercial License

March 2010: Challenge 3

It’s a very small world we live in now.

Only 220 years ago, it used to take a sailing ship about 4 or 5 months to sail from England to Australia with convicts on board.  It took me 24 hours to fly from Australia to Vancouver, Canada with a short stop in Hawaii for a couple of hours. Yet it took only seconds for my class to connect to Ashley in Connecticut in 2008  when we used Skype to make a call.

Students born in the last twenty years  should be taking it for granted that they will be working collaboratively with students and teachers across the world using modern technology.

So this week’s challenge is to tell the world about the area you live in – your town, your state or province, your country in general. But hopefully you will also be having international visitors coming to your blog, so you need some way of knowing where they are coming from. There will be many options of what to do this week ranging from adding widgets, writing posts, leaving comments by visiting international blogs and  adding images so I am posting a couple of days earlier than usual to give you time to complete them.

Adding widgets

When adding widgets to your sidebar, copy and paste the embed code into a text box on your sidebar.

  • Save then close.
  • If the widget is too wide, you will have to adjust the number next to ‘width’ in the embed code.
  • This might appear more than once in the code.

If using blogger rather than Edublogs, you might need to check out the instructions for adding widgets and images etc from Bling For Your Blog, written by a teacher in New Zealand. Thanks Allanah.

Writing posts

If I were to visit your state or province, what would be the ‘must see’ places and why? Include an image (flickrcc about Tasmania creative commons) and a link to a website.

Instead of writing, speak this time using a Voki then embed in either post or sidebar.

We have students and classes from these countries taking part in the challenge:

  • Australia, Canada, U.S.A, Mexico, Argentina, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Thailand, Hong Kong (China), U.A.E (United Arab Emirates), Norway and South Africa. Many of the older Australian students are refugees from other countries so make sure you read about them from their links on this blog.
  • Write a post asking one or two questions about each country or leave your questions as comments on the student or class blogs. eg Do kangaroos hop down the main streets in Australia? How many people live in the state or town you live in?

Images

  • Flickr slideshow
  • Take photos of your local area and put in a post as a gallery
  • Create a quiz at mystudiyo about your state or province. Then embed it in your blog post. Here is one I made about Tasmania.
  • #!/usr/bin/perl -w
    use strict;
    use CGI qw(:standard);
    my $srcURL = param(‘srcURL’);
    my $text = param(‘text’);
    my $gigyaWidth = param(‘gwidth’)|| 300;
    my $gigyaHeight = param(‘gheight’)|| 260;
    my $eWidth = param(‘ewidth’) ||300;
    my $eHeight = param(‘eheight’) ||360;

    print < Status: 200 OK\r
    Content-type:text/html; charset=utf-8\r
    \r

    PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN"
    "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">



    ' };

    Wildfire.initPost('204321', 'divWildfirePost', $gigyaWidth, $gigyaHeight, pconf); });




    EOF

    Which activity did you do? Did you try more than one? Which did you enjoy the most? Remember to leave a pingback or trackback in your post by linking back to this challenge post.

    Attribution: Image: ‘It’s a Small World!
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035555243@N01/16600310