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July 2006

Uses of Blogs



Uses of BlogsAs the Digital Chalkie team were completing the second in their series on blogging (sorry to have been unable to participate) some of my colleagues at QUT have just released a book on the topic…

Uses of Blogs, an anthology of scholarly essays edited by Axel Bruns and Joanne Jacobs, is now officially available.
Axel is well-known in certain circles for his work on the idea of produsers - a concept that should be finding its way into the thinking of all educators.


Here’s the official blurb on the book:

Uses of Blogs brings together scholars and practitioners from a wide range of fields to offer a broad spectrum of perspectives on current and emerging uses of blogs. Blogging is rapidly developing into a mainstream activity for Internet users, but beyond the popular headlines, there has been very little serious research done on their actual application in specific, everyday contexts. One reason for this is that the variety of styles of blogging—news blogs and political commentary blogs, marketing blogs, corporate dark blogs, fictional blogs, educational blogs, to name just a few—make it difficult to generalize and to imagine how blogs might be used in particular environments. This pathbreaking new book demonstrates the application of blogs and blogging in the full range of industrial and social contexts. 

Go on, you know you want one ;)

Webcast#2 - Classroom Blogging Part 2



Digital Chalkie will be continuing the discussion about classroom blogging this Sunday, the 30th of July, at 5pm West Australian time (9am GMT).

Join us as we discuss some further teaching aspects of blogging with Jo Mcleay of The Open Classroom. We will then delve further into the “techie” issues of setting up classroom blogs with an overview of some blogging options; some specifics about setting up WordPress on a local server; some outside hosting options; and effective ways to set up your blogs.

We welcome anyone who has experience with installing various blogging tools to join us and share your knowledge and insights with the teaching community.

Please note that we will be keeping the formal part of the show to an hour in length as strictly as possible, there will however be opportunity for further discussion in a post-show session from 6pm onwards for those who are interested in sharing further discussion and addressing specific issues (an unedited post-show podcast will also be made available).

A detailed explanation of how to join the live webcast will be posted in the next day or so.

Hope you can join us.

Brad Hicks and Paul Reid

ECAWA South-West Professional Development Day



ECAWA is proposing to offer a half-day of training sessions for South-West teachers, in Bunbury.

2nd, 9th or 23rd of September


  • Game Maker
  • Flash
  • Movie Maker
  • Logo programming
  • Clay Animation
  • Photostory 3
  • Digital photography
  • Audacity (sound editing)
  • Blogging
  • Podcasting
  • Other sessions you would like…

It is proposed to have a number of concurrent sessions, about an hour in length, which participants can rotate through. We would intend to run the sessions for about 3-4 hours so that only half the day is taken. A fee will be charged to cover catering and travel expenses of presenters from Perth, it is also intended that the fee will include membership for non-members.

If you would like to participate, please email Brad Hicks at , by no later than Friday 4th August, indicating which date might be best for you and which sessions you would like to have run. Please feel free to request a session and we will see if we can accommodate the request. We would also welcome anyone interested in presenting a session, if you wish to do so please also make contact via the above email address.

Once the level of demand has been guaged, we will email final details to teachers who have expressed an interest.

This is part of an initiative to support rural and remote teachers by ECAWA, we encourage you to participate.

Podcast 1 - Classroom Blogging



Recently, Brad Hicks, Paul Reid, Kelly Anderson, Doug Symington and Reg Whitely gathered online at various corners of the internet to discuss the topic of “Classroom Blogging” in a live webcast. A big thank you to Brad Hicks for his webcasting expertise and for hosting the show. Also to the engaging interviewees and chatroom participants.

Digital Chalkie Webcast #1 Part a: Classroom Blogging (MP3 – 9.9MB – 42min 58sec)

Right click to download the audio file from here.

Show notes:

Part a: Classroom Blogging

00:00 - Introductory explanation of Digital Chalkie website and its aims. Brad interviewing Paul about Digital Chalkie.

04:50 - Brad talks about the webcast and gives instructions about how people can contribute to the live webcasts.

09:20 - Paul Reid’s take on collaborative writing and the functional literacy opportunities provided by an Instiki Wiki:

14:35 - What blogging is and how it can benefit students? Kelly Anderson talks about her recent experiences with blogging in the classroom and how it could be their reading and viewing journal. Kelly uses - based on Wordpress -

16:05 - How were the blogs set-up and what tasks were set? Kelly talks about the naming conventions for student blogs that we used with Kelly’s class to avoid identification of students

23:15 - What is commenting and how does it work?
Links to other blogs: Jo McLeay’s Clarence Fisher Room 208

26:03 - Doug Symington from joins in to discuss blogs and share some of his experiences from the blogosphere. Doug is a regular on and hails from Vancouver, Canada.

29:45 Brad mentions - a global network of homegrown webcasting.

31:15 What happens to blogs at the end of the schools year. Kelly mentions can print and bind blogs.

32:31 Doug talks about the importance on helping students become responsible web citizens. Kelly talks about liability, and privacy.

Digital Chalkie Webcast #1 Part b: Classroom Blogging (MP3 – 9.7MB – 42min 43sec)

Right click to download the audio file from here.

Show notes:

0:00 Brad fields a question via eChalk from Terri van Zetten regarding bullying in the classroom via blogging. Doug, and Kelly discuss this.

02:45 Paul asks how Kelly and Brad have set up their accounts to protect students from potential bullying behaviour. They explain the administrator settings and setting up Bloglines as an aggregator for reading/keeping up with student blog posts.

17:15 Doug talks about using Flickr and Blogger to introduce people to blogging and web 2.0.

28.40 Reg Whitely joins in talks about setting up Wordpress with some of his Year 7 students. (NB: unfortunately the live stream starts dropping out at this point).

For Digital Chalkie’s live show Brad Hicks and I chose to use the word webcast because the audio is released live (streamed) onto the web. The streaming audio comes through like a radio station to iTunes or Real Audio as the user chooses -unlike this podcast, which is released as an MP3 or in an RSS enclosure after the webcast has occurred. In time we will post an enhanced podcast with links and pictures etc that users will be able to subscribe to within iTunes (for example) and which will be archived on the Digital Chalkie podcast page.

Another ‘live’ feature of the webcast that accompanies the streaming audio file is that listeners can join the text-based chatroom. We use Skype to record all conversation within the ‘SkypeCast room’. We will release a podcast of the event which will be an edited version accompanied by a transcript of the webcast.

We welcome the participation of other Digital Chalkies to the follow-up Classroom Blogging Webcast 2 next Sunday. If you have any questions on the topic of blogging please send them to and we will raise them during the show. Please provide us with some feedback, discuss the topic and the new Digital Chalkie webcast in the comments below.

Join us live for Part 2 of Classroom Blogging with the live webcast from 17.00hrs GMT+8 on Sunday July 30.

IT equipment for a Science Department?



The Head of my Science has asked me to come up with some recomendations as to what we should ask for in the way of IT equipment for the science department. In particular, she wants some amunition about what other schools have so we can justify it.

What should I be asking for in order to bring us up to par with most schools?

As I don’t even have a computer or network access in my classroom, I’m sure some fellow science teachers can provide examples of better equipped science departments.

We will be getting access to a room with 14 computers to share between the various science classes. How does this rate against the standard?

How many classes have data projectors set up?
Does anyone use Smart Boards or similar?

What schools have laptops provided to teachers?

Any assistance welcome.

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Recent Comments
  • Melanie: Thank you Kim! I will definitely check out this link and see the developments for higher education on the SLED.
  • Kim Flintoff: We have been using Second Life in a range of situations. Built a Wound Care Clinic with Curtin University for training nurses about wound care and the relationship between hand-washing and infection in a...
  • Melanie: Hello Paul, I am wondering, have continued to utilize SecondLife? Do you find that it has better user-friendly features? Do you find that your courses are easier to teach in this format? Is the VLC classroom a...
  • Melanie: We may agree to disagree on the instant gratification society term, however when you look at new social network devices that are connected to mobile devices – there is an urgency that is attached to those...
  • Kim Flintoff: "instant gratification society" - I'm not sure I'm part of that society. Educational institutions do not make decisions - people do. Which people in educational institutions will cling dearly to email? Email...
  • Melanie: I agree that email is outdated in most settings. However, many educational institutions will cling dearly to email due to the aspect of "waiting before sending." Email is still a resource and an appropriate tool...
  • Maryjane: This is incredible and we need to spread it to school districts. It was posted two years ago and I've not seen new policies or classroom innovations happen since then. People are afraid of what the kids might do....
  • Suzanne: I cannot help but think that this trend, while reflecting archetypal youth rejection of all things "adult," is also related to the digital immigrant/digital native thing. The young are very flexible, very willing...
  • Maryjane: This made me laugh outloud. School districts are still discussing whether they'll give access to students for email; do all their business by email instead of walking next door and talking to someone; and wonder...
  • Nick Smith: This video was exactly what I needed/wanted to hear. As a student working towards being a teacher, I find it great to not only revolutionize teaching, but to re-invent it all together. One woman mentioned...
  • Scott Merrick: Hey there, feel free to unpublish this comment--it's more or less for your own info: This is to let you know that Digital Chalkie has been nominated for Blog-o-the-Month at the Blogger's Hut on Second Life...
  • Laura Seabrook: I have one other question, which I can't find answer to on the Murku wiki (no doubt the answer is right there and I keep missing it) - where/how does one get it?
  • Laura Seabrook: Murku looks really interesting (and I shall definitely try it), though the examples could do with some improvement, as per my comments above. Positioning can be important - see the Blambot article at...
  • Kim Flintoff: Murku is designed to facilitate the construction of comics based on content in a Second Life TM, ie SL, environment. Murku will be of interest to those who have always dreamt of creating their own comics but...
  • Laura Seabrook: Actually there was a typo in my previous comment. I meant to write wouldn't be, not would as far as being the first to do an SL comic. I discovered Plywood shortly after starting my own, which can be found...
  • Kim Flintoff: Hi Laura, The example in the article wasn't intended to be a highly refined product - it literally took me 60 seconds to create with some random images grabbed from my hard drive. The points you make about...
  • Laura Seabrook: I started doing Second Life comics late in 2007 ( though I didn't use Comic Life - rather I drew bits, used screenshots and put it together using PaintShopPro and Fireworks (for speech balloons etc). I knew...
  • michael chalk: Great stuff Paul .. lots of good points here. You are right about the ABC - they're really leading the charge into the new era of digital participation aren't they! My favourite thing they do is the way they...
  • Ken Allan: Kia ora Kim! I don't think it is anything to do with HOW we communicate. It is more to do with how kids see email. It is simply to do with the age-old feature of youngsters avoiding ANYTHING that is associated...
  • Aaron Fisher: This is very cool! It is amazing how those principles from long ago are relevant today, just in different forms. Students do learn better by doing, no matter the subject. We teachers need to do a better job...
  • Julie Carney: Thanks for this post, and for posters like Paul who have linked and commented on resources for educators to use. As is the case with most things, it seems the right combination of educator/program/developer...
  • Debbie: I, too am upset that this website has been taken off-line. My special education students loved it, and I knew I could always find an activity geared their levels and abilities. I hope that it will soon be running...
  • Andrew Westerman: Each LO costs $20 000. So, if 20 students use that learning object for 0.1 of an hour (6 minutes), that's 2 student / hours @ $10 000 per hour. If 2000 students use that LO for 0.2 of an hour (12...
  • Cathy Nash: Learning Objects are one of the tools in a good teacher's toolbox. It is simplistic to lay them aside as past it. A poor teacher can make a pencil look dull and a great teacher may just achieve great things...
  • Suzanne: I am so upset that this site has been removed, however I fully understand why. My Year One children and my pre-primary children loved using the site and it catered for all ability levels in my class. i do hope...
  • Julie: I am sorry that Rainbow Maths has been forced off the web. My daughter loved it so it is missed. Any idea when Jenny may put it back on the web with added security measures to prevent it being copied etc?
  • Jen Zupp: I totally agree with Jenny's reason to take it off. I have spent thousands of hours keeping my website up which is pretty much a directory of quality websites I find online. If I had created a masterpiece like...
  • Kristy Dickson: I agree with Paul, $20 000, $80 000, or whatever they cost, kids are losing interest. I think they have their place for a bit of drill and practice occasionally, but I wouldn't pay for them. Motivation and...
  • Ingrid: I'm distraught that rain forest maths is not available. My 3/4 kids loved it. My kids loved it and it is so easy to cater for their abilities with the different levels. Anyone know if there's a chance it will be up...
  • Azam Ali: my kids love this site, they come on rainforest to learn. Anyone trying to stop kids education is playing with our future. Shame on people who are greedy for money and dont care for the future.
  • Bryn Jones: Channel 4 in the UK has £50million to develop new media content. Ewan McIntosh has some role in it as Digital Commissioner for Scotland. Jobs open now!
  • Thomas Goodwin: Paul Reid has pointed educators in the right direction (create and collaborate) however he started from an incorrect premise; The Learning Federation's Digital Resources are completely different from the...
  • Patricia Corby: Phew, what a terrific wealth of useful info here! Thanks Paul. In reference to this comment "They need to move from static to dynamic in form" as an overall comment it is relevant but being fair some are...
  • Paul Reid: If everyone's Math is correct the Teaching & Learning Federation pays $20k for jpeg pictures Learning Objects! eg these ones shown here http://www.thelearningfederati
  • Janice Millard: its not fair that my class can't go on rain forest maths because of other people copying we were going to do a test on it but it was closed down my class was very upset not very happy!