Friday, 30 January 2015

Blogger and Google Sites

Over the last few months I have had many questions about the way 'my' schools have handled setting up class blogs, individual student blogs and class sites, using Blogger and Google Sites respectively. I have created some tutorials, feel free to use and please give me feedback. THANKS!

Monday, 19 January 2015


I just came across this fairly new Microsoft web app Sway - it looks like fun:) There is also a free iOS app. You need a Microsoft Account (Hotmail, Outlook or Live) or you can connect an existing account with Microsoft. Within the app you can insert CC free images (via Bing), content from your OneDrive, videos from YouTube etc. There is an option for you to request more sources, too. There are a number of ways to change layout and styles with more to come. It works on laptops including Chromebooks, and I can access my Test Sway on iOS (but as I have got it open on my laptop I can't edit it on the iPhone at the same time).

I can see this work well for presentations, it's free and easy to share / embed. For future developments I would like to see inserting of audio and video so you could use it for full digital storytelling and in UDL context. Have a go and maybe you can let me know how Sway can support your teaching and your students' learning?

(Note: For embedding ensure that you choose a size that can be displayed in the body of your blog, I used 400 x 550.)

Sunday, 18 January 2015

A Happy New Year

And it's definitely a hot new year for the BeLchick family, the weather has been very warm here in Queensland! The move over to Brisbane went well, the container arrived and 'stuff' is getting rediscovered (it's only been a month!), placed or repacked (this house does not provide as much space as our NZ one). While I enjoyed the time off including the enforced time offline (until the internet was finally working), I was looking forward to starting my new position. My first week has been great, meeting new people (some f2f, many online), getting my teeth into the platforms used at work (O365, OneNote, Lync, Sites etc.). Looking forward to meeting up with AUS and NZ MS Educators at the Master Trainer Workshops in Melbourne next week, and heading into schools shortly after.

Many of the thoughts I had at the end of last year have continued to bubble away - how do we truly treat teachers as learners? Where do we treat them and their needs like students and their needs, and where do we say they are professionals and can / have to deal with it? On the other hand, what can we learn from the way adults learn for teaching students?
To give you an example, this week I continued working on my Mosaic Site I had started in November; it really frustrated me for a bit! The fact that I could let it go for a day or two, that I could work to my own timetable really helped. Next I worked through some online tutorials, and then I got some one-on-one support from my lovely colleague. A few questions still remain open, but I have made a lot of progress.

This process has met my needs; how can we provide learning experiences for students that similarly meet a learner's needs? Knowing your learner is still paramount in my opinion, but also the learner knowing themselves, and the learner being taken seriously, being a true partner in their learning. Now I'll need to think about how this impacts on the learning I will provide for my learners...