Category Archives: Information

Still here to help

G’day blogging teachers in Tasmania,

This year I am no longer employed by the department to do blogging. This was my choice as they asked me to change role with less blogging involved.

I am, though, prepared to continue helping those teachers I have worked with over the last 7 years. I will be able to visit you at school but not necessarily work with the students.

Hopefully later in the year, there will be PD for teachers about using blogs in their classroom and I might be involved with that so keep a look out there.

If students have questions about their blogs, we could organize a Google chat or Skype or they can send me an email.

I will be doing more work on my family history blog this year as well as transferring information from a wiki on Sorell (wikispaces now closing) onto a blog that will be open to the world.

Hoping to hear from some of you soon – check my email on the sidebar of the blog.

Creating your first class blog

I noticed many Tasmanian teachers have registered for the Better Blogging with students course run by Edublogs. I will be one of the moderators of this course.

The Tasmanian Department of Education has its own setup for blogging called Xpress360.

To create your own blog  – contact me and I will do it for you or

  1. Click on login – top left corner of this blog
  2. Click on register
  3. Create your username – I suggest teachers use first initial then surname eg swyatt, chennessy, jdoran
  4. Put in your department email address
  5. Click gimme a site
  6. When asked for the URL of the site just add your username again. This will then create a blog like this
  7. Check your emails to get password and some clues on how to get started.

Feel free to email me at anytime – see the envelope image on the sidebar.

UPDATE: All new blogs for 2018 can be seen on the left sidebar.

Global Education Conference Day 1

As mentioned in my last post, one way to connect globally is to take part in the online Global Education Conference happening this week. Here is the Aussie time schedule (Hobart time of course).

As a volunteer at the conference, I get to go into the presentations and listen to some wonderful speakers. They all relate to something global and each session is recorded and archived here.

In a five hour period, I sat in on two different sessions:

Empowering Young Changemakers through Design Thinking

Mahika Halepete is the 15 year old presenter who has her own non profit organization called Ayana International. Check out this article about how she got started with social justice around the world. She also wrote and sang her own song called Walked Away. Just Google her name and you will be amazed at what she is doing.

KEYNOTE      Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom

Sylvia Martinez – Author, speaker, publisher 

If you are into tinkering and maker spaces at your school then this session has lots of ideas and resources you can use. A website co authored by Sylvia is about helping educators invent the future.

Another moderator was  impressed with a session co run by my friend Anne Mirtschin from Hawkesdale in Victoria. It was about the world peace music project. Listen to the recording here and see if you agree.

Connecting globally

He has the whole world on his head

Creative Commons License Michael Coghlan via Compfight

Part of the Australian curriculum relates to connecting both teachers and students globally. How do you do that?

When I first began blogging in 2007, I knew no-one from overseas. I asked my mentor Sue Waters from Edublogs how to find people for my students to connect with on their blogs. Sue sent out a tweet and, suddenly, I started to develop a global PLN (personal learning network).

My first three connections were Jan Smith from Vancouver Island, Canada, Inpi from Lisbon, Portugal and Paul Bogush from Connecticut, USA. I am still in contact with these three educators and have actually visited Jan and Paul on one of my trips to USA.

Do you have any overseas teachers or educators in your PLN ? How can you find them?

Join a global education network

With over 26,000 members in their global network, this conference always has some great presenters from many different countries of the world. Check out their online guide to their conference happening next week. Make sure you find the schedule for our time zone.

I will be there next week as a volunteer in some of the sessions.

Join twitter as an educator and or class

You will see a twitter guide in the links on the sidebar – everything you need to know about twitter. Twitter is my go to for personal learning.

  • Send out the URLs of student posts and see who replies on their blog posts. Include #17stubc and #comments4kids
  • Start a hashtag relating to a topic you are doing in class and pose questions on twitter for other classes to reply to – make sure you are following other class twitter accounts for this to work well
  • As you now have a blog, make sure you include the @edublogs whenever you tweet.
  • Take part in some Twitter chats – you can follow even if not a member but need to join Twitter to actually take part

Here is the information for using Twitter with students

Take part in the Global Read Aloud

This event takes place in October/November each year. Check out their website here and perhaps plan to take part in 2018.

Connect with other groups

Join the Global Oneness project – Lots of interesting stories and ways to curate collections of stories about global events and problems.

Connect with others via Skype or Edmodo

The Wonderment is a way for kids to do good in the world


Blogging at high school

You’ve heard or seen this great 21st century tool called ‘Blogging’ and you want to try it with your students at high school. Before getting too excited, you need to think of a few things first.

What is going to be the purpose of the blog?

  • A place for students to have a voice in class
  • Parent communication about the subjects you teach
  • Personal blog for reflection on teaching
  • Place for resources in subjects you teach
  • Lesson plans for subjects you teach

How will the blog be used?

  • Teacher writing posts
  • Teacher and students writing posts
  • Students leaving comments on teacher posts
  • A group of teachers in same subject or grade area

Who will be using the blog?

  • Students from one subject area you teach
  • Students from all subjects you teach
  • Students from classes you don’t teach but from same subject area

Will students have their own personal blogs?

If you are thinking of having students with their own personal blogs, then decisions need to be made at a grade, subject or whole school level.  The decision will affect the way the student blogs are created and attached to a main blog.

Other posts I have written relating to:

Why begin blogging in class – includes blogging video and padlet

Reasons to blog in class – includes sketchnote of 10 reasons for students to blog

Kathleen Morris from Edublogs has just written a great post on using student blogs as a digital portfolio.

Some high school blogs to check out. 

Photography class – teacher has main blog, students have personal blogs on sidebar. The syllabi, assignments and assessment rubric included on pages in header area

Grade 10 English USA – teacher uses main blog to remind students about what is expected in the subject. There are resources included in pages above the header. (As the blog is 3 years old, some resources are no longer available.)  Students have own personal blog but looks like topics are free choice. Check out the Word within word games.

Mrs McNally mumblings – teacher reflecting on teaching but also contains links to the school blog (written by students) and her student blogs (not used often). Links to her resume and teaching goals in the virtual portfolio page.

Heart of the school – blog celebrating librarians in UK. Shows how libraries are being used and gives lots of visual examples through images and documents.

Middle school science – teacher reflects and plans in main blog and student blogs are attached on sidebar. Students have had the same blog throughout their school life and you can see how their writing has improved since grade 6. Check out a student blog from each grade.

Robotics and game design – this Tasmanian college teacher writes explanatory posts but students also write posts on the main blog as well as commenting. Resources found above the header area. Instructions for tasks and challenges are available as documents to download.

Athlete development – this is a course for year 11/12 students and includes resources and links to help with their learning. Students don’t have blogs.

Computer science – teacher writes a weekly post explaining what is happening that week, including links to useful websites. All information needed by students is in the page area near header.

Outdoor education – similar format to the other college blogs with resources in the header area and a timetable as the main front page.

Personal pathway planning – lots of links so a resource type blog.

A post on the Edublogger lists many other blogs from K-12 and in subject areas. Those in orange are used as examples in other posts. Check some out.

So now you have done some thinking and exploring of blogs used in high school, how will this affect how you see blogs being used at your school? Please add your answer as a comment below or add an idea to the padlet in my other post.