21.7.07

What is a Blog?

The Wikipedia article for "blog" begins:

"
A blog (a portmanteau of web log) is a website where entries are written in chronological order to maintain or add content to a blog. and commonly displayed in reverse chronological order...

Blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject such as food, politics, or local news; some function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (artlog), photographs (photoblog), sketchblog, videos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), audio (podcasting) or sexual in nature (Adult blog), and are part of a wider network of social media.

In May 2007, blog search engine Technorati was tracking more than 71 million blogs.[1]"

Blogs can be free, public or private, open or closed to comments. They are an ideal way to create web pages without owning web-editing software, or knowing a lot about creating web pages. All you need is an Internet connection.



How to use a Mac computer

At the Apple website you can learn the basics of getting around in a Mac interface. Click here to get started with Apple's 5 lessons.

This page describes the Mac keyboard we use with the classroom Mac Mini computers.

15.7.07

Video: RSS in Plain English

From the producers: "We made this video for our friends (and yours) that haven't yet felt the power of our friend the RSS reader. We want to convert people and if you know someone who would love RSS and hasn't yet tried it, point them here for 3.5 minutes."

(This video may be blocked in school - see it at home!)




On this page of Orthogate (a blog for Orthopedic surgeons!)Dr Christian Veillette gives a simple explanation of RSS, and a good step by step guide of how to subscribe to a feed in Google Reader.

Video: Social Networking in Plain English

"This video is for people who wonder why social networking web sites are so popular. One reason is because they solve a real-world problem: they make the invisible visible. We'll let the video explain how it works."

(This video may be blocked in school - see it at home!)

Video: Wikis in Plain English

"We made this video because wiki web sites are easy to use, but hard to describe."

(This video may be blocked in school - see it at home!)


3.7.07

Google tools

We are asking every Year 6 student to sign up for a Google account, in order to have access to Gmail, Google Documents, Picasa web albums, Google Notebook, Blogger, Google Groups, and Google Reader, for use in school work.




Watch the above Gmail video (outside of school) to learn more about Gmail, (and to get some good ideas for easy animation!)

Read what 9 year old Adora Svitak has to say about iGoogle in her post on the "Infnite Thinking Machine" blog:
"Although I consider myself fairly well-versed in technology, discovering iGoogle made me ecstatic. It's an absolute must-have if you want to keep floating on the all too murky surface of tech popularity..."

On-line survey tool

You can register for a free basic account at SurveyMonkey
to create free online surveys for up to 100 respondents, and up to 10 questions.

Keyboarding

We have Type to Learn 3 and 2T4Mac installed in our iBooks. Online typing programs can be found at

  • typingpal.com
    speed test,
    some free demo exercises, and paid registered typing course online.

  • Bubbles Game
    "Your target is to burst the rising bubbles by pressing the character shown in them. The more bubbles you burst, the better score your score."
  • TypingTest.com offers a speed test. "After the short text typing sample, you will see your typing speed, accuracy and net speed."
"Asking students to use a keyboard to write without training them to use it properly limits what they can accomplish in the computer lab. It requires students to spend valuable class time locating keys instead of thinking about what they are trying to say... Students can be taught to type as soon as they begin using school computers, just as they’re shown how to hold pencils when they start writing. Correct finger placement and simple keystrokes, such as using the thumb for the space bar and the little finger for the shift key, can be taught even to very young students. They may still hunt and peck, but as they gain competence, they should begin to learn touch typing...When you expect students to produce well-written documents in a limited amount of time, it’s only fair to show them early and often how it’s done. And the simple truth is that students need to be able to type faster than they can write with a pencil. Otherwise, it’s not worth the class time to put them in front of a computer." - Doug Noon, Teacher Magazine: Reverting to Type, Teacher Magazine 1 May 07