Saturday

Tool 1: Blog Set-up & Registration

A blog is a webpage that is set up in a series of posts which are like entries in a journal. Blogs are a part of the social networking online world, and in the case of blogs used in schools, a part of the larger educational networking online world.

Having students write in blogs (online journals) is a good way for them to share their knowledge with others outside of the classroom. Blogs allow students to have a wider and more authentic audience for their ideas. To quote David Warwick of 2¢ Worth, "students become information artisans instead of merely information consumers."

You will use a blog to record your reactions to the various 11 Tools activities and to post ideas and samples of the tools that you will bring to your classroom for your students to use in learning.

For your Tool #1 Assignment:There are 4 things you need complete for the Tool 1 activity:

  1. SET UP YOUR BLOG.
  2. CREATE AN AVATAR
  3. WRITE A BRIEF POST ABOUT GETTING STARTED
  4. REGISTER YOUR BLOG with the 11 Tools for 21st Century Learners project management.

1. SET UP YOUR BLOG

1. If you have little experience with blogs, view this video from the Common Craft guy Lee Lefever that explains what a blog is.




2. View these slides for an overview of the key parts of a blog.
Parts of a Blog
Dashboard of a Blog
Post Box of a Blog

3. Because SBISD is going to start using many Google products, these activities will include many of the same items. Therefore, Blogger is the blogging software of choice for 11 Tools.
If you do not already have one, create a Google account and then go to Blogger to set up your blog.
If you already have a Google account, then proceed to Blogger.

4. Blogger has a step-by-step guide for setting up your blog.

5. Things to consider when creating your blog:

  • The url (address) of your blog will be unique. The url you create should be short and easy to remember. ALL Blogger blogs urls start http:// and end with blogspot.com
    You will create the middle portion.
    For example, the url for the 11 Tools blog is http://11tools.blogspot.com/ The "11tools" portion is the unique portion of that url. You can never change the url (address.)
  • The title of your blog can be different from the url. You can choose a title now for you blog. Later down the road, you can change the title of your blog if its focus changes or if you change how you use it. For example, the title of this blog is 11 Tools for the 21st Century Learner. It can be changed to anything the blog owner wants it to be.
  • There is a public side and a working side to your blog. The public side is what the readers see after you have completed your posts in the working side of the blog. Readers will need a link to your blog or the url (address.) YOU will need to remember the email address you used to create your blogger account AND the password you set up so that you can get to the working side of your blog. Put those two pieces of information in a safe and convenient place. You can get to the working side of your blog from your blog's url or any other Blogger blog!
For more help with creating and setting up your blog:

2. ADD AN AVATAR TO YOUR BLOG

Now you need to start learning how to add gadgets to your blog.

When working online, teachers and students often create characters to represent themselves. They often decide to become alter egos or cartoon extensions of themselves. Often times, the act of creating avatars has been described as digital paper dolls. Making avatars are often a way to combine creativity, personality, and a bit of fun while learning a skill. Adding avatars often increase the effectiveness of an online lesson or information posting. They are also useful in situations where it might best if students do not put individual photos of themselves.

There are several sites for avatars. Some are merely pictures while others have motion and voice. You will use the Voki site to create a character, have it make a statement, and add it to your blog.

To complete this task:

You will need to register at the Voki site so you may save your avatar. You can use the same email that you used for your blog.

Create your avatar using the various add-ons like clothing and backgrounds. Be sure you create a message. You can type a message and the site will create a voice. SAVE your avatar so you may capture the code.

Go to the Layout screen of YOUR blog.















Select the HTML gadget.













Paste the code and SAVE.
















When you go to the public view of your blog, your character should appear where you placed it on your layout screen.

3. WRITE A BRIEF POST on YOUR BLOG ABOUT GETTING STARTED

You will be writing posts about each of the Tools you investigate. For Tool #1, briefly describe the process you just underwent and how you might incorporate blogs in your classroom.

Please include Tool #1 as part of the title of your post.

4. REGISTER YOUR BLOG

You have created a blog. You have created a Voki avatar and uploaded it to an HTML gadget. You have written a short post about your experience with Tool #1.

Now you need to register your blog with the 11 Tools management.
Email vaughn.branom@springbranchisd.com and include the following information:
1. Your name
2. Your campus
3. Your blog's url (address) -- it will look like this http://thepartyouchose.blogspot.com/
4. Your blog's title
5. Your identity in your blog -- you selected this when you created your blog. It could be your name, your initials, an alias you created, or even the same as the title.
Help

You will know your blog is officially registered when you get an email back from the 11 Tools team AND your blog title appears on the list of participating blogs. If you do not receive an email within 3 days of sending the above information, please contact vaughn.branom@springbranchisd.com again.

Tool #1 has been pretty intense. There was a lot to consider in getting started. The rest of the tool investigations should be a little less intense. You will be concentrating on learning about them and how to use them in transforming your classroom and integrating the new technology you are getting.

Enjoy your learning!

Credits:
Common craft video sharing policy

46 comments:

  1. creating my different avatars with voki was cool!

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  2. My voki was good for my self esteem, I looked young and cool

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  3. Getting started on my blog was fun! Love the different sites and I have been having fun with it! Love my avatar! Reminds me of me! LOL!!! If anyone would like to comment on my blog, you are most welcomed!
    http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1

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  4. I think my avatar should have her own movie!

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  5. I loved creating my VOKI....so many choices and loved inputting a comment with a different voice and accent!!!

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  6. Fun, but a bit difficult and time consuming for those of us who aren't techies.

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  7. My avatar is bilingual...just like me!

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  8. I already had a gmail account and a personal blog with Blogger so that created a few issues navigating between/around them. Hardest thing is the slowness of the Dell and the school network.

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  9. I had a blogspot and gmail accounts long time ago but decided to open new ones exclusively for this training and skip the issues... I'm so satisfied with this new approach to teach our students... I really like it!

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  10. This is my second experience with creating a blog as well & because of the training guides, this blog is going to be much better. I also created a second google and gmail account for this blog. I want my Avatar to be bilingual. . .

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  11. I liked it very much. I am learning a lot, new things. I am so excited about this course.

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  12. the voki was very cool- my nephews had a great time helping me pick out the voice!

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  13. I liked creating my blog and my voki. It was easier than I thought it would be.

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  14. I had a great time creating my blog and my voki! My sons helped me pick out the character and clothes. I didn't think it would be so much fun.

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  15. Glad to see so many people having fun with this. Am I the only one who would rather be by the pool?

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  16. best part was putting my own background on my avatar...

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  17. Setting up the blog was fairly easy. Voki wouldn't send me a confirmation email for some reason, though. Apparently, I didn't need it because I was still able to transfer my avatar to my blog.

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  18. I had the same problem, Eponymous. Glad I finally got started! Have a great day everyone!

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  19. sounds like I wasn't the only person with Voki. I also had problems creating a blog with Google. Anyone else? They were experiencing problems for 3 days- very frustrating!

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  20. Creating my blog was easier than I thought. However, I did encounter some difficulty in creating my avatar. I registered on the Voki website and went to click on my activation link. Once I clicked on my activation link it gave me an error message. Finally, I was able to create my avatar today. I know my students would enjoy creating their own! I am on to step 2. Wish me Luck. :)

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  21. well-at least the training session was fun!!

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  22. I think I finally got it to work ! I need some help sizing the Voki,but I do think she's cute :-)

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  23. I really enjoyed creating my Avatar. It was also fun to add creative details to my blog. :)

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  24. I am with the two people who said they would rather be by the pool. This stuff is not really hard, but it is summer, you know!

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  25. Wow!I really loved skipping around the site and composing my blog. It was also a great way to escape the heat!

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  26. Sorry folks, but I'm not enjoying this a bit! I could be running (in the heat, yeah!), doing yard work, or reading something interesting. Instead, I have to play silly games. Frankly, this is a big waste of my time!

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  27. I like creating my avatar and my blog, I would have liked to have this training being in group, just to clarify any questions that some of us could have. And if you do have the knowledge of how to do all of this, then I understand it would be a waste of time. For me it is a good way of learning while I'm resting at home.

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  28. I think I did this correctly. It was fun to create my Voki but I haven't seen it again!
    Creating the Blog and Google account was kind of confusing and much time consuming! I wish my daughter was here next to me to help clarify many things! There are many things I still don't know what they are!

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  29. I went through most of the lessons but never emailed the the stuff I needed to do. Oh well have to do that now. I can see using some of the digital tools but not all of them.

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  30. Creating the blog and voki was fun and I can see how it could be useful in the classroom. I am personally not too interested in blogging, but it could be fun for the kids. I'm hoping the next tools to come will make me more excited and I can really see a great use for them.

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  32. I was able to resize the voki avatar for it looks much better :-)

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  33. Creating a blog spot was easy but I can't finish Tool #1 as Voki won't let me register and always gives me an error type message. This may take longer than I think and I am only on Tool #1 and it is still summer. I also get many interruptions from my sweet kids and this makes it hard to complete! Oh welll, onward and upward. Maybe tomorrow will be better......

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  34. Love my avatar, not so thrilled about the advertisement that is attached to the bottom of it though. But the process was great fun.

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  35. avatar was fun!!! I would like to have a cartoon voice. Why not? enjoy the larning as always. Just time, time, and time. :)

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  36. Not my favorite activity. I'm having a hard time seeing the practical application of this in my classroom, but maybe the next few tools will help with that.

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  37. As with anything, getting started is tough. I hope it goes quickly from here on out. I think a brief instructional video would have been helpful. I didn't care for the "get you pumped about tech videos". I think we get it. I am a little irritated that we have to do this during summer vacation. This would have been a cool thing to do during the boring and usual waste of time inservice we usually endure. It would be better to have people to bounce ideas with. All in all, there will be some good things to take I am sure, but I wonder how many teachers will really utilize the knowledge. TIME!!!

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  38. I know I'm not alone when I express the thought that it's frustrating to be told how I'm going to spend my 'free' time on summer vacation. I even read a book about having a growth mindset to try to get myself on board with this process. Every time I try to get started there has been a roadblock either with 'oh you're not supposed to be logged into the district site' when doing this to the Voki site not sending the activation message to not being able to access the avatar I created and now I have to find a special code to insert. The amount of time this will consume is creating tremendous stress and I don't feel the same joy so many others seem to have. Perhaps that will change as I try to unravel these steps s-l-o-w-l-y.

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  39. I agree with those who want their summer back! This type of activity should be completed during working hours of the year, not during our summers.
    This may or may not be useful in our classrooms, but as of now I don't see any way that I could incorporate it. Perhaps if the district actually took the time and spent a little money to demonstrate the potential that they see here it would make more sense to me.

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  40. Wow..it wan't easy, but I think I've got it.
    Good luck to everyone!

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  41. Awesome.... it is so much fun.. I've learn quite a bit since I just started and still have a long way to go. I can't wait to get to the end so I can compare the level of my creativity and knowledge at the beginning... Lots of luck of everyone!!!! Including myself..;)

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  42. I finally got the first tool done. I was having trouble loading my voki to my blog.
    I love the doggy that I created!!

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  43. I am not sure if I am done with tool one, but I have my voki (check out my ears) and please everyone go check out my www.read831.blogspot.com
    If feels good to see something you have created, the chikdren are going to have a blast.

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