This is my first ever post in the VLN, long time listener (reader) first time caller (blogger).
We currently use an LMS at our school and I particularly like the funtion where students, teachers and parents can keep track of learning goals in journals/portolios in and beyond the classroom. We also find having a class 'page' to embed resources and links for students and parents to be able to easily access works well for learning beyond the classrooms too. Our senior classrooms also use Google Drive, but I was wondering what other primary schools are using?
My questions are:
- Is there a general retreat from LMS's recently? (At primary level)
- Do any of you use student blogging with students in the junior school? How does this work for you?
- Do you need to maintain seperate website/blog as a class page?
- What are the best tools out there to be able to embed HTML code within student journals/portolios in order to blend learning?
- We are looking for something straight forward to enable all of our staff to manage this themselves with support, do you know anything manageable like that?
Looking forward to any guidance and perspectives.
My Year 3/2 students blog as part of 'must do' tasks during group work. As this requires a high level of typing skill to complete their piece of work, this takes time and getting the whole class to complete a write up on a single topic does not happen. While blogging goes on, the topic on which they are writing changes. Students can log on at home as well to do their blogs but this rarely happens.
There is also a seperate class website that students can post comments at any time - home or school and students are better engaged in this as this involves photos of activities/experiments done at school
Hi Camilla, we are a full primary school using a LMS and are in the early stages of implementing Office 365. I will do my best to answer your questions from our situation.
1 - I am wondering about this too! I too really like the journaling/e-portfolio component of our current LMS and the richness that this gives to learning, but I am quickly discovering that the other functionality we make use of can be replicated within O365.
2 - We are not student blogging with junior students at this stage, although some of our junior teachers have begun blogging recently. I really like the diverse ways our teachers are using blogs to suit different purposes. Some are showcases for learning, others a way of engaging parents in day to day learning, older students engage in a more reflective process including sharing and discussing their learning, and one of our NE teachers is using a blog to focus on transitioning students to school, helping to build strong parent involvement from the beginning.
3 - This is where it gets tricky to explain! O365 has many components to it. The 2 we are focussing on are OneDrive (similar to Google Drive) and Sites. The sites component of is impressive in terms of what it can do. I’m pretty sure we are just scraping the surface here! O365 (SharePoint) allows us to create sites and subsites for different purposes and different groups. There are lots of different forms a site can take and templates are available which you can then customise. I’ll stick to blogs for now! We can create a blog (site) using a template to provide core functionality like posts, comments and other normal blog features and then customise using additional apps/widgets. We have created a Blog hub (which is linked to our teacher hub) so that we can access each blog quickly and easily. These blogs can be and in some instances already are linked to other learning hubs (in our case these are syndicate related) and individual classroom workspaces. We also have blogs operating for groups such as our school librarians and our ALL project participants. Our blogs exist within our own O365 space and site owners (teachers) decide who has permission to view, contribute, edit etc. Students and teachers access with individual or class logins. We can also choose to share externally with parents using email addresses.
4 - Embedding code is a case of clicking insert then selecting the embed code button.
5 - Because O365 is a MS product its look and feel are very familiar to teachers. Moderation of posts and comments and notifications are pretty straightforward to set up once you know how.
I hope this makes some sense to you.
We're a contributing primary school and have had Ultranet for quite a few years now. Teachers maintain their own class page and kids use uSpace and the messaging a bit. I don't think any of our teachers use uSpace or the messaging strategically to support learning though, however, some have dabbled in this at times.
I have just installed a WordPresss Multisite at school after having visisted Te Akau ki Papamoa a few weeks ago and seen how they use it. I am going to have a go at using WordPress blogs as a digital workbook for the kids. I see great potential for audience and feedback from others with this solution. I have tried to use Ultranet for this in the past but the workflow is cumbersome and the kids' work is locked away in Ultranet and can't be easily shared outside of Ultranet. A big enabler for the WordPress solution is the Easy Blogger Jr iPad app. It makes it incredibly simple to upload text and media to WordPress and is designed to cater for multiple users sharing an iPad.
The main function that Ultranet would be left with is hosting class pages. WordPress allows users to create static pages in their blog site which would be adequate for how most of our teachers use their Ultranet class pages. Google Sites is another options if something richer was necessary and Google Classroom is on the horizon.
I'm not planning to suggest that we drop Ultranet at this stage, but I am planning on beginning the conversation.
I'm also interested to hear from others about what they're doing and where they're heading.
We are an intermediate School but we use Hapara and it's an amazing LMS. Also Hapara keeps track of Blog comment posts so it's all built into the one system. A very well organised and user friendly system that works with the whole Google Apps for Education system.
I'm don't have much experience at primary level, so won't attempt to answer your questions.
I just wanted to say well done on your first post! Always great to see long-time (or new) listeners to the VLN take the plunge into contributing/posting/asking questions.
I can see there are already some good responses.
We have everything on Google at our school. All our classes have blogs through Blogger (Year 0-6) We use Google Docs and gmail and with everything linked, it makes life alot easier. I have my class blog set as the homepage on Google Chrome (which is set up with our class g-mail account so they don't have to log in every time) on all my class computers. I teach Year 2/3 and they can naviagate our blog with ease. I have everything set up through the blog - links for learning (I link through to a Symbaloo page for each curriculum area) My students aren't yet posting to the blog themselves, I add all the content but they are getting the hang of using google docs and I give them the option of 'live' blogging photos from home. Each class maintains their own blog and our Digital Citizenship team offers support for those teachers who are less confident with using them. Our school website and teacher blog (which is through Wordpress) are separate to our blogs. I also use Edmodo with my class as a communication hub between myself, the students and parents. Hope some of this may be of help!
Thanks for your replies, I did find an interesting app for iPad called 'easy blog junior', which appears to let you upload your whole class into a virtual classroom with children's pictures so that they can identify their blog, and there is a handy support voice in the app that helps children (particularly juniors) to blog a picture, video or text to their blog. It seems to only be compatible with wordpress and edublog. It basically makes uploading to blogs very easy. Is anyone using it?
I'm just wondering about the logistics of setting up individual blogs through edublog, or wordpress for each child and the consultation with parents about their thoughts on this for their child, being 'out there in cyber space and all'. It doesn't seem to work with blogger, which if i'm correct is the blog linked with GAFE?