Tagged: learning

Week 2: Goal Setting

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Goal setting is an important way to focus time and energy on improvement and a lifelong skill that can assist students to achieve their ambitions. Make sure you introduce the handy acronym ‘SMART’ goals and discuss examples (and non-examples).

  •  S – specific
  • M – measurable
  • A – achievable (or attainable)
  • R – realistic (or relevant)
  • T – timely

This Kids Health site has five great tips for goal setting.  I like to provide some guidelines to students and suggest 3 academic goals, 2 skills and a personal goal for improvement. We also created a rubric based on the “You Can Do It!” framework – Confidence, Organisation, Persistence, Resilience and Getting Along. Students rate themselves from 1 to 5 for each of these attributes and then choose a couple to work on. Again, it is useful to give examples, such as 1 = I talk to a special friend about my ideas, 3 = I can speak to small groups of about 10 people about my ideas,  up to 5 = I can confidently speak to a room full of over 50 people about my ideas.

 1. Use Padlet or Linoit for students to create a wall of goals

Each student posts their goals on a ‘sticky note’ on the wall. You can save this wall embedded in a blog or wiki to return to at the end of the term, semester or year. 

2. Create a form in Google Drive

Again, this way you can save and store all your student’s goals for review in Semester 2 or at the end of the year. Students also need a copy to refer to, so make sure they have saved them.

 3. Create a poster or infographic with your goals.

4. Create a video about your goals.

Repeating goals out loud and recording them are powerful ways for students to remember and solidify their goals. Investing time and energy into creating a video about their goals assists students to make them authentic, relevant and purposeful. As simple as recording a student reciting their goals or as imaginative as creating an animation, this task is open enough to allow students of all ages and abilities to get engaged.

 5. There’s an app for that!

Of course there are hundreds of apps that can be used to support goal setting – whether your goals are to break a bad habit, get fitter, lose weight, read more or whatever. This is a comprehensive post for free and paid apps that can assist. The top free apps for goal setting are “Way of Life – the ultimate habit maker and breaker” and “Everest – live your dreams and achieve personal goals”.

What are your tools, strategies and ideas for student goal-setting?

Week 1: Icebreakers!

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My aim for 2014 is to write a blog post each week that includes a range of teaching strategies that can be used to engage students in their learning. The focus will be on the learning goal, using a variety of hands-on strategies, web tools and mobile apps. For week one I am suggesting a range of strategies to be used as ‘Icebreakers’.

Since Christmas Day, 52 passengers and 22 crew members have been stranded in pack ice near Antarctica – three icebreakers have failed to reach them and finally a helicopter is being sent to rescue them. Classrooms can be a bit like ships sometimes – students with different interests and abilities are grouped together with a common destination. The goal is reached more effectively when everyone gets along and demonstrates good organisational skills, persistence, resilience and teamwork. Setting high expectations in the beginning and clearly communicating those expectations is important in an open and trusting environment.

At the beginning of each year, teachers will benefit from getting to know the students in their new classes – their interests, strengths, experiences and skills. To build trust and respect in your classroom, students need to get to know each other too. The following activities can be used to help participants feel comfortable in the classroom and assist in creating and maintaining a successful learning environment.

1. Create an avatar

Avatars are small images that can be used to identify users online. There are a huge variety of online sites to create your own avatar, including

2. If I was an animal, I would be a…..

Students find a picture of an animal that represents their character. ARKive  and Flickr are two great sources of animal images. Students then describe the characteristics of the animal that they have. This is a question sometimes used in job interviews, so it is worth thinking about. A monkey might be considered agile, intelligent and curious; an ant is hard-working and part of a team; a tortoise might be slow-moving, but thoughtful and persistent and an elephant is strong, loyal and has a great memory.

3. Self Portrait

Students draw/sketch/paint/collage themselves and display their image. Digital tools that can be used include:

4. Use word clouds to create an image

Wordle and Tagxedo are two web2.0 tools that students can use to create an image using words they choose to describe themselves. WordFoto is a mobile app that can be used in a similar way. Lois Smethurst explains the process of using Tagxedo and WordFoto on her blog, “My ICT Journey”. Ask students to choose at least ten words that they think describe themselves. An alternative might be “Ten things you didn’t know about me”.

5. My five best qualities

Students trace around their hand and for each finger nominate a characteristic that they are proud of – some students might need prompts, so perhaps you could brainstorm a list as a class to start with. You can also use Padlet or Linoit to complete this activity (each student posts their five characteristics on a sticky note on the digital ‘wall’ or ‘pinboard’). Here is a list of 555 personal qualities that students may find helpful.

Some more ideas for Icebreakers can be found at Educational Technology and Mobile Learning – Ten Techy Icebreakers for the 21st Century Teacher.

“What’s Web2.0?” at Apollo Bay

Image created with ThingLink

Thank you for inviting me to your lovely, country P12 college today! As a small, rural school in SW Victoria, Hawkesdale P12 College is a very similar school to this. We have about 250 students, mostly from farming families, arriving by bus each school day. I imagine you have similar concerns with isolation from major centres, distance to services and lack of multicultural awareness that comes from living in small, rural and regional communities. Today we are going to look at some tools that we have used at Hawkesdale P12 College for connecting, communicating and collaborating with the world.

Wallwisher is a free, easy-to-use site where you can post digital sticky notes. It can be used for exit slips, brainstorming, reflection and sharing ideas.

Wordle is a site that allows you to create beautiful word clouds from text. Tagxedo is similar, but allows you to choose the shape of your word cloud. Use it for introducing a unit or finding out how much students know about a topic.

Bubbl.us is another fee site where you can create concept maps. Students need to register to save their work.

Voicethread allows students to add text, voice and annotations to images. You can create multimedia presentations using your own images or upload creative commons images from Flickr.

Blackboard Collaborate is free for DEECD teachers and enables virtual classes, meetings and professional development. You can be teaching a class and within 10 minutes be participating in a education conference with teachers from around the globe, without leaving the staffroom. You and your students can link up with experts, such as Scientist in Schools partners or Melbourne Zoo staff, without hiring a bus or organizing permission forms. Please click on this link to access the Blackboard Collaborate Virtual Room.

Benefits of Blogging for Students

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Way back in June 2008, Anne Mirtschin wrote “What is a blog?” with a description of the different ways blogs can be used. We are still blogging at Hawkesdale, due to the great benefits for students:

1. Student-centered Learning

Blogs allow students to create their own space on the internet, where they can customize their templates, express their ideas and share their opinions. Students love to add different widgets, images, music and animated clips to their blogs.

2. Supports Differentiation

Blogging is an authentic, open ended task that is suitable for a wide range of abilities. You can be young or old, speak any language and use blogging for your own purposes and interests.

3. Open Learning Community

A blog is accessible 24/7 to students, peers, parents, relatives and anyone! Students can display a portfolio of their work to a global audience. Cluster maps or other widgets can be added to show where visitors are viewing from. Students love to see red dots popping up on their cluster maps and it can become a geography lesson too!

4. Authentic Audience

Students take more pride in their work because it has the potential to be viewed by this global audience, including their peers in other countries. They are no longer just writing for their teacher, but the whole world!

5. Improves Literacy Skills

Blogging encourages reading, writing, vocabulary, grammar and research. As the blog builds (with the most recent post at the top) you can look back and see improvement over time.

6. Builds 21st Century skills

Blogging allows connections with the global community and promotes teamwork, critical thinking and problem solving. Blogging helps to build information, media and technology skills required for 21st century work places.

7. Engages students socially

The Facebook generation expect to have a global voice, they expect to be able to communicate with everyone, all the time. Blogging allows this. Students can create links to their friend’s blogs and other sites of interest.

8. Allows reflection and a record of change

Like a diary or a journal, but accessible from anywhere, a blog can document the development of the learner. Blogging gives users time and space to record their reflections.

Year 7 Student Blogs:

Jade’s blog
Jasmine’s blog
Elektra’s blog
Jobe’s blog
Tobie’s blog
Sam’s blog
Messiah’s blog
Tayla’s blog
Chris G.’s blog
Emalee’s blog
Helen’s blog
Alex’s blog

Global2 Challenge: Learning Collectively


Image created using WordFoto app for iPad

In a small, rural school, such as Hawkesdale P12 College, the ability to access resources from outside our remote location has been hugely beneficial. As well as communicating with students in all parts of the globe, teachers are able to form personal learning networks across continents and oceans. Teachers, students and community members can feel somewhat isolated from city life, without the great range of choice (shops, libraries, learning options, hobbies, medical and sporting opportunities) that are available in metropolitan areas. Through blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other online social networking platforms our community members have the ability to seek out others with similar interests, that they would otherwise never have the opportunity to contact.

In my school we have a Maths and Science faculty of just five teachers. We get on well and very quickly get to know each others preferred strategies and teaching philosophies. By joining online education communities (such as #vicpln on Twitter or the “Guide to Innovation” Ning) I am able to draw on – and contribute to – a much greater diversity of teaching experience. I certainly believe that effective professional development can occur as collective online learning – this has been consistently demonstrated by the Classroom2.0 forum, Anne Mirtschin’s “Tech Talk Tuesday” and “eLe@rning” on Wednesdays, as well as the Ultranet “Share and Tell” sessions. Each of these platforms operates on the premise that we all have something to contribute – everyone has different skills and experiences that others can learn from. By allowing different guests to present their own ideas and reflections, participants gain a wide range of perspectives.

Time and distance can prevent students from visiting museums, galleries, gardens, zoos and other places of interest. Many rarely have the opportunity for attending live theatre, dance or concerts. However, they can connect with like-minded people through gaming and other various special-interest forums. An example is the 365 project, which is a site where participants upload a photo each day for every day of the year and comment on photos of others. Several teachers at our school started the project this year and encouraged some of our students to join. As keen photographers they are able to share their work with others, view images from other beginners and experts, critique photos, ask for advice and contribute to discussions. This experience has allowed them to explore an interest and improve their skills outside school. Together the 365 community have built a resource of incredible images, together with information about cameras and how to create amazing photographs. These students have been able to take photos for the school magazine and enter photography competitions.

Another example of online collective learning has been the VCE Environmental Science Online course. This course has enabled students from four different schools to enroll in the subject, who would not otherwise been able to, due to lack of a willing and/or experienced teacher or due to too few students wishing to study the subject. We spend 90 minutes each week on Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate) and communicate via my blog, email, Facebook and Skype. These students are passionate about the subject – willing to take the risk on a trial in 2011 – and contacted me through my blog to request an online course. Ubiquitous access to technology has enabled them to connect with students of similar interests and support each other throughout the course.

Other students have taught themselves to play guitar using YouTube clips, create and upload animations and identify invertebrates, frogs and birds found on their farms. This ability to personalize their learning is motivating and increases the opportunities for students to develop skills for life-long learning. They are able to ask their own questions, contact experts and investigate answers. They can, as Sir Ken Robinson would say, find their “Element”. Teachers need to be very strategic and imaginative to be able to incorporate these types of learning within the scope of the VELS framework. I only hope that the new Australian curriculum will be flexible and open enough to allow teachers to facilitate online collective learning that matches the passions of our students.

Performance and Development Review

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This is the time of year when teachers at our school are required to write our performance and development review document that consists of our goals for the year and our plans for professional development and improved performance.  As an ‘accomplished’ teacher, with nine years of experience, I am required to demonstrate high levels of the following:

  • Knowledge of relevant curriculum areas, student learning processes and resources
  • Classroom teaching skills and constructive strategies that allow students to reach their full potential. 
  • Effective assessment and reporting strategies
  • Effective responses to emerging educational initiatives and priorities.
  • Communication skills and professional behaviour
  • Organisation and management of aspects of the wider school program.
  • Improved teaching and performance skills through critically evaluating professional practices.
  • Professional assistance to other teachers in classroom related areas.

 Over the past 12 months I have been a part of the literacy coaching program, designed to improve the literacy of students across the school in all their subject areas. This program allows me to spend time with my coach and mentor, discussing teaching strategies that can improve comprehension of scientific terminology and understanding of science concepts. We have employed several strategies that have been effective in both middle years and VCE classes. These include:

  •  Exit slips
  • Cornel notes
  •  Reciprocal teaching
  • Explicit learning intentions and success criteria
  • Collection and use of student data to inform teaching
  • Catering for individual difference.

All my efforts with integrating technology into the maths and science curriculum and providing online VCE Environmental Science classes to students across the state may not be fully recognised without data to show that these strategies have been successful in improving student learning. So, I think my goal for this year is to try to provide the evidence for improved learning using ICT in my maths and science classes. I have anecdotal evidence, from the students themselves, that they enjoy using netbooks and find it easy to access information as well as organise and retrieve their work. They enjoy having ownership of their personal device and like the ability to personalise their netbooks to suit their own styles of learning.

A Day with Stephen Heppell

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On Friday 11th March I was very privileged to be able to attend the Country Education Project “Future Rural Leaders Forum” facilitated by Professor Stephen Heppell. I participated in the first session in November last year, as a result of Hawkesdale P12 College’s key role in the Virtual Teaching Project, in which I was a supervising teacher to a pre-service teacher from University of Ballarat. It was wonderful to be able to meet up with Michelle and Bianca, now in their first year of teaching, and let them know that I have been thinking of them both.

The session started with a review of the video that was produced at the conclusion of the last seminar and a brainstorm of the blockers and enablers that had impacted on each of us achieving the goals we had set ourselves. I had set the goal of using a ‘praise pod’ and ‘hero cards’ to recognise the achievements of my students, as well as giving students more ‘”choice and voice” in the classroom. I still hope to implement these strategies in the classroom, but I have initiated a few other Stephen Heppell ideas in the meantime.

  • I made the suggestion of having a student on our interview panel when we advertised a position last year. This was strongly howled down by a fellow staff member, who saw it as a gross invasion of privacy.
  • I have created a “Hawkesdale P12 College” Facebook page, which only has teachers as viewers so far, but once the principal has approved, we can advertise in the school newsletter. Professor Heppell refferred us to Cloudlearn.net, a site for the research project about using Facebook safely in the classroom. One of his strongly held opinions is that schools do not need bulky “acceptable use” policies – students and teachers know the rules of the school and they should behave in the same way online.
  • I have created facebook groups for my VCE Biology and VCE Environmental Science classes. This is a great way to connect with the students – wish them a happy birthday, find out what they did on weekends and holidays, remind them of work and assessment tasks, provide links to resources and interesting video clips and importantly, model appropriate online behaviour.
  • I used the “Japanese Multiplication” YouTube clip in my maths classroom, which prompted an interesting discussion of how it works.
  • I participated in the discussions for landscaping around our new building, to make the natural environment accessible to students and part of learning every day.

If you know anything about Stephen Heppell you will probably know that he is a great fan of playful and authentic learning. He has worked with students and teachers in all parts of the world to enhance learning by giving students more ownership and it follows that there is no one answer to the perfect school or classroom. Different spaces suit different styles of teaching and learning so teachers will perform better in certain types of classrooms. Stephen gives the example of a UK school in which the students were given the task of designing their own classroom, a project they worked on for two years. The end result was the transformation of a shipping container into a modern space with mood lighting, a Skype bar, diversity of seating, whiteboard paint on all the surfaces where any devices that students walked in with just worked – wifi, mobile phones, netbooks.

Professor Heppell also advocates for parents and grandparents to be a significant presence in the school – as teacher support and to shadow a student for the day. Adults other than teachers, who can share their skills, can be careers advisors, music coaches, gardening advisors and more. This strategy ‘broadens the support base’ or ‘flattens the pyramid’ by giving more people ‘ownership’ of what happens in the school. He suggests that mobile phone technology and Facebook can be used to engage parents in the school. Stephen suggests that schools of the third millenium will be smaller and decentralized, with the administration ‘disaggregated’.

 When purchasing furniture, he suggests that locally made items can be sourced to the ideal specifications and purpose built at reasonable prices. This had been very successful at a Liverpool school, where there was a high rate of unemployment in the region. Mirrors on the wall assist to see student faces when they are working on computers installed against walls and giant billboard style photographs can be created to advertise the school and promote it’s values. Another suggestion was to mount a webcam at the highest point of the school, with the live streaming posted to the school website. It was very interesting to note that the ideal temperature for learning is considered to be 18*C.

When Professor Heppell was asked about middle years science learning he recommended that students be asked what they want to learn – using the scientific method to investigate our world comes naturally to children. The Observe-Question-Hypothesis-Test cycle is the way that virtual worlds and computer games are developed, so it is quite easy to use game-based learning to assist students to understand the scientific method. He recommends enquiry-based and project-based learning, suggesting the science of technology – how a mobile phone works for example. Stephen also showed a link to simulations of Newton’s laws and centipedal forces at Rubble.Heppell.net.

Spending time with Stephen Heppell was  great, but another highlight of my day in Melbourne was meeting up with fellow tweeps, who I had not met face to face before. Jenny Ashby (@jjash) organised dinner at the Blue Train, which was attended by Anne Mirtschin (@murcha); Helen Otway (@helenotway); Heather Carver (@hcarver); Lois Smethurst (@loisath); Bronwyn Mcleod (@seriata); Gillian  (@macgirl19); Georgina Pazzi (@edumazing) and Scott Duncan (@sduncan0101). What a fantastic, friendly bunch of tech-savvy educators all in one place together! I wish we could have talked all night, but a 4.30am start prevented that from happening. It got me to thinking how lucky I am to have a wonderful PLN – even though I live on a farm and work in a small, rural school, I have access to some of the best connected and innovative educators in Victoria. Cheers to Twitter!

Reflections on my Online Class

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This year I am teaching VCE Environmental Science to a class of eight students – only one of which who actually attends Hawkesdale P12 College. The seven other students are from Shepparton H.S. and McGuire College in Shepparton and Brauer College in Warrnmabool. These students are all passionate about environmental science and wanted to study the subject in Year 12, but it was not offered at their schools. Through the Victorian Association of Environmental Education teacher’s network, I offered to provide an online course to these students using the Ultranet, blog, ning, Skype and Elluminate. They each provided details of their school and home email addresses, phone numbers, parent and teacher contacts and their timetables. It was obvious that there was very little opportunity for the timetables of four different schools to co-ordinate to allow these students to attend the classes scheduled at Hawkesdale. It was also apparent that these schools have not yet provided Ultranet access to their Year 12 students. Another difficulty is that email, blogs and Elluminate is blocked at these schools.

So far we have had three weeks of classes, with communication from home via email, the blog and four Elluminate sessions, each about 90 minutes in duration. The first two sessions were introductory sessions, getting to know each other and becoming familiar with the Elluminate tools, which include an interactive whiteboard, audio, text, chat, video and application sharing. We will need to increase the number of online sessions as we are not covering enough material to get through the course in a timely manner. By alternating Tuesday and Wednesday and having a weekend session we will be able to increase the number of contact hours.

VCE Environmental Science is not offered by Distance Education in Victoria, as it has a high practical component, with experimental work part of the student assessment. We have overcome this difficulty by meeting at “Ecolinc”, in Bacchus Marsh, where we completed several experiments, including monitoring power output of household appliances, recording the energy transformations in solar panels, hydro and wind turbines and observing a model hydrogen car and the Environmentally Sustainable Design features of the Ecolinc building itself. These practial demonstrations were video taped and uploaded to the blog for the two students unable to attend. Students have also been able to undertake practical work with supervising teachers in their schools. It was a great pleasure to meet these students as it helps to add a face to a name in my memory and find out more about each of them. One of the students is particularly shy, although this wasn’t noticable in an online enviroment, because she had been contributing to the online discussion in the same way as the other students. I think this is an interesting aspect of the online environment that I noticed last year when doing our Virtual Teaching Rounds with Pre-Service teachers from Ballarat University. The online environment reduces the likelihood of one student dominating the discussion and allows students to participate more democratically.

I think the keys to the success of these students will be their motivation to complete the course, their persistence with technology and their ability to take responsibility for their own learning. They will need to have the confidence to ask for assistance when required and the ability to recognise when they lack the understanding they need to fulfill the requirements of the course. On my part, I need to make these requirements explicit to students and have clear expectations of the work required. I need to provide them with the materials they need to develop an effective understanding of the content as well as the skill to synthesize, apply, evaluate and create. I will also need to monitor these student’s learning carefully to ensure they are completing the work required and developing the understandings to allow them to do well in both mid-year and end-of-year external examinations.

I am very interested in feedback from other teachers who have taught online classes abAout what they think is important to ensure the success of online teaching and learning. What are the key ingredients to the success of an online course?

“For a Successful Online Teaching and Learning Experience – Communicate” by Lawrence Regan PhD

“A Top Ten List for Successful Online Courses” at the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching.

Great Educational Bloggers to Follow

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During the Teacher Blogging Challenge for Activity 2, I read many posts about effective writing and followed links to some outstanding educational blogs. Where can a beginner blogger find great blogs to follow? I compiled the following list, at the risk of leaving out some very important people’s blogs; but these are ten of the most popular and influential blogs in education, that I find myself returning to frequently for great information. These writers are leading the way in education, bloggers who have a vision for improved learning using technology and are willing to share their knowledge and experience. In no particular order, these ten blogs are a great place to start:

  1. Richard Byrne – “Free technology for Teachers” @rmbyrne
  2. Tom Barrett’s Blog at “edte.ch”   @tombarrett
  3. Frank Noschese’s blog at “Action-Reaction” @fnoschese
  4. Dan Meyer’s blog at  “dy/dan”  @ddmeyer
  5. Dean Shareski’s blog “Ideas and Thoughts” @shareski
  6. Kelly Tenkeley’s blog “iLearn Technology” @ktenkely
  7. Mr. Robbo, “The P.E. Geek” @mrrobbo
  8. Langwitches’ Blog @langwitches
  9. Tony Vincent’s blog “Learning in Hand” @tonyvincent
  10. Chris Betcher’s blog at “Betchablog” @betchaboy
  11. Edna Sackson’s blog at “What Ed Said” @whatedsaid

I know I have left out some great educational bloggers! Please leave your own recommendations in the comment section below.

Down Blog’s Memory Lane

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This post is my response to the Teacher Challenge, supported by Edublogs, Kickstart Activity 1:  Ten questions to ask my blog. The image was created in Tagxedo, using the text from this post.

1. Good Afternoon Mr. Technoscience. Now tell me when and why you started blogging?

My first post was in February, 2008 and I have been posting regularly since then, with over 260 posts to date. I was encouraged to start blogging when Heather Blakey visited our school for professional development. I saw blogs as a good place to collect all the many science, maths and other educational resources online, together in one space. I have been encouraged by Anne Mirtschin and Jess McCulloch, both keen bloggers, as well as comments from other teachers and students.

2. Has it been difficult to keep blogging regularly?

 I usually post two or three times a week on each blog (I have five blogs now!) during the school term. I have a blog for each class I teach, so it is my lesson planning, resource storage, reflection space, as well as the place for my students and I to find links to content, tasks and extension activities. So it is not difficult, it replaces some of my pen-and-paper planning and is a resource for students who are absent and other teachers who may be interested.

3. Why did you create separate blogs, instead of different pages on your blog?

I found that it was more difficult to edit pages than post on the front page and most of the time, people just look at the most current material anyway. I could have created separate categories for each subject, but then the posts were moving down the front page too quickly. So now I have Biology, Environmental Science, Technomaths and “Photo a Day” blogs as well as Technoscience.

4. What do you like most about blogging?

I really like having my own space on the internet, where my students, as well as their parents and other teachers, can see the work we have been doing in class. Blogging helps to organise my thoughts and plan for the week ahead. It gives students a launching platform to the world wide web – a familiar place from which they can start to explore the vast array of resources available, with a specific task in mind. It is a place to celebrate student achievements (videos, slideshows, text and images of their work) and a place to gain feedback about their learning. It is one of the places, together with Twitter, where I can meet other teachers.

5. Which are your favourite tools to embed in blogs?

 I regularly use Irfanview to crop, rotate and resize images for my blog. These images are my own photos, creative commons photos and diagrams from Flickr or sourced using Creative Commons Search. I also often use Voicethread, Slideshare, MyStudiyo (quizzes), Google forms and YouTube to embed content I or my students have created. You can find links to these sites in the column at right.

6. Which of your posts have been the most popular?

According to which posts have received the most comments “Steep learning Curve”, “Porshe versus Volvo” and “Test-driving the Volvo” have been the most popular. “Like knitting with a knife and fork” was also an interesting post. The thing that these posts all have in common is that they are my reflections on teaching and learning with technology. I am always grateful for the positive feedback I receive from colleagues and teachers from other schools.

7. What have been the most challenging parts of blogging?

 In the beginning, the most difficult tasks were the ‘behind the scenes’ technical aspects – how to add widgets and links, embed code, manage comments and add an avatar. Now the biggest challenge is maintaining my readership – keeping the content interesting enough to attract an audience and have readers return to the site. I also find I am getting more spam comments, which need to be managed.

8. What have been your most exciting moments?

Receiving a comment on my first post (very encouraging), receiving a comment from a fellow maths and science teacher in Lima, Peru, requesting participation in a global project and being nominated and short-listed in the 2010 Edublogs awards.

 9. Where does your future lie?

I think that I will continue to blog as long as I teach, and possibly even after that! I believe blogging is an essential tool in my professional development, improving my teaching by thoughtful planning, gaining feedback from students and teachers and regular reflection on teaching and learning. Although the Ultranet is designed to host teacher and student blogs, I will be running my global teacher and edublogs sites outside the ‘walls’.

10. What would you say to teachers who don’t blog?

Blogging won’t suit all teachers, but technology is nothing to be afraid of – it is a neutral tool that can be used for both good and evil. Many of our students are very tech-savvy and expect to be constantly communicating and connected to the world beyond the classroom walls. Keeping a blog doesn’t need to be something extra on top of the daily teaching load, it can replace a professional learning journal, lesson planning diary and task sheets for students. Give it a try and you might even get the blogging bug!