Saturday, September 26, 2015

The First Post

This year Room 10 @ Ruapotaka School have been sharing via their class blog however, we were all very excited to be able to launch individual learner blogs this week. To prepare, our cybersmart learning during the past term has focussed on Smart Footprint, specifically learning to make smart decisions about what personal information we share about ourselves online.

The first post shares individual blogger profiles, an opportunity for learners to introduce themselves. Having already created their profile in Google Drive as part of our Smart Footprint learning, this is ready to share on the day, enabling learners to focus on the actual steps required to post and publish to their new blog.


In addition to their blog profile, learners have also created a series of digital learning objects in their Google Drive that are also ready to share. As beginner bloggers the opportunity to initially repeat the process, within short intervals, helps to reinforce the individual steps required to post successfully to their blog.

For our learners who use Chromebooks* the process of accepting the blog invitation and logging in for the first time is also valuable cybersmart learning. An opportunity for learners to put their cybersmart learning into practice. Browse the Google Slides below for further details.



Once learners have shared their first post add a link to their profile post in the sidebar of their blog so it is easily accessible by visitors. Also, update the class blog with the Blog List gadget and feeds to learners' blogs to improve findability.
Thanks to Room 10 @ Ruapotaka and +Jackie Buchanan for all their contributions to this blog post.

Additional Reading
Room 9 @ Ruapotaka School and +Kate Ginders Smart Relationships: Learning how to create quality blog comments
Blogging Tips for Digital Immersion
So you are planning to create 100 student blogs...
Effective Blogging Site

*recommend that individual blogs for younger learners (1:1 with iPads) are logged in prior to learners posting.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

“Your digital footprint is not just for school, it is for life”

Being cybersmart empowers our learners as connected citizens, and their learning as visible and accessible, anytime, any place, at any pace.  Cybersmart young people learn to make smart decisions in digital learning environments and understand that every time  they connect, collaborate and share online it combines to create their digital footprint.

Our cluster has developed protocols for digital learning not only to meet our care of duty to parents, whānau and Boards of Trustees but also to empower our young people as cybersmart learners.
I recently posted about the value of blogging to support cybersmart learning and the importance of our blog protocols. These protocols also guide our use of Google Apps for Education (GAfE) and YouTube as an additional service.

A Google account comes with the option to create a YouTube channel. For teachers, YouTube channels are useful for subscribing to and organising content via the Google Site and YouTube playlists.
Note: Before embedding a YouTube video change settings so recommended videos do not display. Video can only be embedded in a Google Slide from YouTube at this time.

Google Drive to store and share media has become the preferred default ...

Since the rollout of free, unlimited Drive storage to all GAfE schools last year, using Google Drive to store and share media has become the preferred default, especially for learners. Video can be embedded in a blog from Google Drive, where learners connect with their audience via blog comments. As administrators of these blogs teachers are able to monitor content and interactions through their email and Hapara Teacher Dashboard.

For our learners, especially those under 13, creating a YouTube channel with their GAfE account needs to be approached with consideration.  What is the purpose?
If a learner needs to embed a YouTube video in a Google Slide would using the teacher’s channel or a class channel monitored by the teacher suffice?

YouTube is an additional service to GAfE and monitoring an individual learner's channel, including the comments is potentially more challenging and time consuming than monitoring interactions via a blog.
The blog is the default for our learners to share and connect with their audience. Consequently our preference is that all video content is shared publicly via class and individual blogs.
To support our cluster goals, pedagogy and care of duty we have identified the following recommended defaults for YouTube Channels in our GAfE accounts for both teachers and learners:

  • Upload defaults for video are set to unlisted
  • Commenting is turned off
  • Videos are shared via class/individual blogs or class sites
  • Channel name for students - first name and initial (same as the label on their class blog)

Where individual YouTube channels are deemed necessary for children, setting the defaults with them for their YouTube channel is also a valuable cybersmart learning opportunity - learning to create a positive digital footprint. I have also encouraged learners to share this learning with their parents and to consider settings on any of their non-school accounts set up at home.

“Your digital footprint is not just for school, it is for life”