Sunday, January 31, 2010

BlogFest 2010 Task 6 Blogfest 2010 has been a real eye-opener for me. To start with it has exposed me to new tools, new ways of doing things and broadened my perception of blogging and other social communication technologies. It has also alerted me to my own limitations but at the same time encouraged me to explore more in the world of blogging.
The task based approached worked well for me as I tend to commit myself once I'm into something. Obviously it does not suit everyone as evident from the blogs of other participants and I can understand that. I particulalrly enjoyed tasks where I had to add/insert items into the blog in spite of some frustrations experienced with blog. I made another attempt last week to insert a video in the html format of the blog but the alignment was completely out of wack.

I wish we had an opportunity to explore new and emerging technologies such as:
Google Moderator - a tool that allows audience/participants to vote for a preferred topic, questions, ideas.

Google Wave - helps users communicate and collaborate instantly and live on the web. Users work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more. It is also a platform with a rich set of open APIs that allows developers to embed waves in other web services and to build extensions that work inside waves. Both of these applications have a wide range of applications and I can see them being integrated into or embedded into a number of Web 2.0 applications (Moodle? ).

Though officially BlogFest 2010 comes to an end with this task, I wonder whether we can all explore maybe half a dozen new/emerging techologies and discuss how they can be integrated into our teaching and learning. We can do this through own own usual blog or through an extension of this BlogFest

I'd be honestly embarassed if I was mentoring an online group and find myself tailing off. And I'm not sure how I will handle it. I'd of course have an introspective examination of why I failed to meet my commitments, followed by an honest exposition of the circumstances without being too personal and do my best to reinstate the original momentum.

I will continue to blog and hopefully apply some of the ideas that have been exposed and discussed through this BlogFest.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

BlogFest 2010 Task 5 Visitor Contributions

I'm sure many have experienced setbacks when posted blog do not attract and/or generate a response from visitors (though not all posts have to have a feedback), let alone people adding their names as followers of the blog. Blogs are meant to be a conversation; maybe the catalyst for a conversation.

It is certainly not easy to initiate a conversation these days especially when there is so much blogging around. Often people follow regularly certain blogs, others not so often. I follow one or two blogs on's often moving on.

For the purpose of this task I decided to put on two short videos, similar in nature and message but different in the way they go about presenting the message. Both from
Next Generation Learning, a British government campaign initiated by Becta.

What is Next Generation Learning?


Engage Me!

1. What are two videos trying to tell us? Is the message similar, the same, or completely different? In other words if both videos are about the same subject, do both deliver the same message? if not, why not?

2. After viewing both videos, how would you explain what Next Generation Learning is to the parents of a K10 student?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

BlogFest 2010 Task 4 Following Blogs

Today's task is about following and conversing with others. Also we are required to list at least 10 blogs I think are worth following and maybe write a comment or two about why I follow the blog.

I must admit that though I subscribe to a number of emails from educational entities, I have never bothered to search their websites to check if they have RSS feeds. A case in particular is the eSchoolNews that Kerrie has displayed on her blog for this task. I have followed eSN through their variuous newsletters for a few years now; I get 2 to 3 of their email-outs every week. So I have add their technology widget to my blog to the left and subscribed to the RSS feed that now has been added to my iGoogle account.

Having looked at some of the blogs refered to by Ali, Cecily and Kerry and others later, I'll start looking a lot more seriously at building my range.

I used blog for the last year or so but now I'm quite keen on Blogger's. I have documented my impressions about earlier but after reading Helen's entry for Task 3, I might squeeze some time to play with it again.

Monday, January 11, 2010

BlogFest 2010 Task 3 Embedding Content

Well, I should have done this in the first place; it's so easy to create a blog using Blogger, just over one minute, quicker if I didn't explore all the templates available. Reason I created a new one is because I was having issues with task 3, to be precise embedding external content. Let's hope Blogger will be better behaved.

Task 3 - Embedded Files
The requirement for this task is the embedding of external content into the blog. Once again this should be another exciting exercise. External content is usually imported into a blog using a snippet`
of html code that is embedded within the page on the blog. Many websites support embedding of their widgets, video and other media and generally offer the code free of charge. However I have noticed that Google recently has started to advise that some of their maps do not display unless you use Google Chrome , a web browser developed through open source over the last few years. Apparently Chrome holds 5% of the market and wonder if people have encountered any problems with it.

I have also discovered that blog may not be capable of handling embedded external code.
So far I have tried Google Maps, Countries visited from World66 website and videos from YouTube.

So after creating my new blogger account, first thing I tried of course is including the World66 map of places I visited and hej presto here it is:

create your own visited country map

OK, next on my list is a short video. I decided to add a video about the Grand Harbour of the island of Malta, (ts people awarded the George Cross medal by King George VI for their bravery during World War 2. The Grand Harbour was withness to most of the sea and air battles.

Task #3 - Widgets
Widgets - those small "engaging, and useful applications that allow users to turn personal content into dynamic web apps that can be shared on just about any website" (Wikipedia).

Ideally these should be placed to the left or right of the main content of a blog.
I have attached a translator from Babylon to the right panel of this blog.

Well that's about it. I have spent too much time on this task first due to issues with my previous blog, and now having to learn a new environment.