Mitch Squires's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Web2.0’

Connecting my Classroom

Posted by mitchsquires on March 29, 2010

It’s been just over a month since I made the long overdue decision to start a class blog. In that short time, I’ve been amazed by the responses from students, parents, teachers and many others. I’d been planning to start a class blog for quite some time, however it always seemed to be just one item too far down the to do list. Organising parent information notes, explaining to my supervisor and principal what it was all about, then actually coming up with something to put on it all were hurdles that stood in my way.

Eventually, I decided to bite the bullet. Initially, I set up a blog using Edublogs, a free blogging site. I posted three short posts – a welcome note to my students, three diamante poems students in my class had written the day before and an embedded Storybird that my class had jointly constructed.  It was this third post that really got me excited. I’d never quite grasped what it meant to be able to embed content until that point.

The next morning I shared the blog with my class. They were quite thrilled to see their own work published on their very own website. Soon, we were all hooked.  I spent the next fortnight pushing the limits of what I could do with the blog – embedding Flickr photostreams, Wordles, videos and even an online survey. The kids renamed the blog and began enthusiastically suggesting every piece of work they do be posted.

The real excitement arrived shortly when comments started arriving on the blog. So many positive comments really opened the kids and my eyes to the fact that their work was no longer just on display on the back wall of the classroom, but the whole world. Feedback from such a diverse audience including teachers from all over Sydney, NSW, Australia and even Wales and the USA kept coming in thanks to my Twitter network.

Soon, the blog was picked up by Roger Pryor, HCC SED, who offered us free hosting at . The feedback kept coming from teachers like Mrs Dem, Audrey Nay, Margot Lindgren, Bianca Hewes, Mrs Westwood and Jan Green, causing more excitement for the kids. We added a clustrmap and each new dot gave us a mini geography lesson every day. Each morning, the first question the kids have is ‘can we check the blog?’ despite most of them having checked it the night before after school. Conversations about comments and feedback have become a regular part of our morning routine, and the kids are buzzing every time there’s a new repsonse to their work.

One of the biggest benefits I have noticed from starting a blog is how much pride the students now have in their work. Every time we start some work, I am bombarded with kids asking ‘Can mine go up on the blog?’ With good reason too. The look of joy on the face of a young girl in my class when she was able to tell us the dot on the clustrmap in Sri Lanka was her cousins listening to the podcast of her speech was priceless.

With the advent in the last week or so of BlogEd, blogging in schools has just become easier, and I am now a huge advocate of blogging in the classroom. My advice: take a step on a terrific journey and start a blog for your class today!


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

A Smattering of Web2.0

Posted by mitchsquires on March 24, 2010

Web2.0 is a term commonly used to describe online applications that allow users to interact with other users or contribute content to the website. In Web2.0, the user’s experience is active, rather than passive. There is an ever growing number of Web2.0 applications available, with many being made freely available and encouraging a culture of sharing amongst users.

Web2.0 allows users to create, collaborate, contribute, connect, share and participate in a learning community (Yuen & Yuen).

There are many different types of Web2.0 tools, including blogging, media sharing, online communities, wikis, creative organisational and analytical tools.


blog is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order.

Some free blog providers include WordPressEdublogs and Blogger.

Example Blogs

Audrey Nay – Teacher Librarian on North Coast NSW

Momo Time To Read – Margot Lindgren, Teacher Librarian at Avalon PS

The Blog Dogs – My class blog

Media Sharing

There are many different types of media sharing websites around. These include video sharing sites (Youtube, Teachertube, Vimeo,, photo sharing sites (Flickr), Podcasting websites (Podbean) and other file sharing sites (Slideshare).


My Flickr

My Podbean

My Slideshare


wiki is a website that allows the easy creation and editing of web pages. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites.

Free wikis can be created at Wikipsaces or PBWorks.

Some example wikis:

Cuddie Cuddie – Cultural exchange between looking at Indigenous culture in Australia and Celtic culture in Wales.

Cool Tools For Schools

Macquarie ICT Innovations Centre

Creative Outlets

There are plenty of creative Web2.0 tools that are user friendly and let you create interesting and appealing products. These include storytelling (Storybird, Picture Book Maker, Myths & Legends) poster making (Glogster), video creation (Animoto), collaborative media (Voicethread) and presentation tools (Prezi)

Some examples:

The Scientist Who Wanted To Experiment On Me Storybird

Web2.0 Glogster

School Picnic Animoto

Year 6 Literacy Voicethread

Surviving DER Prezi

Online Communities

Online communities are places people share resources and ideas. There are a ranges of different types of online communities such as microblogging (Twitter, Edmodo) social bookmarking (Delicious, Diigo) Virtual Worlds (Second Life, Quest Atlantis) and social networking (, LinkedIn)

Some examples:

My Twitter

My Delicious

My profile


Many Web2.0 applications are designed around organisation. These include brainstorming/mindmapping applications (Mindomo, Mindmeister, MyWebspiration,, online notice boards (, Wallwisher) and page organisers/RSS (Pageflakes, Google Reader).

Some examples:

Video Conferencing Mindmap

Year 6 at Heathfield Wallwisher

Pip’s Pageflakes


A number of Web2.0 applications provide data analysis. There are visual information organisers (Wordle, Tagul) and a range of free survey tools (SurveyMonkey, SurveyGizmo, Zoomerang).

My Class Wordles

Where next?

For oodles of practical examples of how Web2.0 tools are being used check out The Amazing Web2.0 Projects Book by Collated by Terry Freedman. This book contains examples of projects with links to their websites, information on how they were set up, etc. Very Handy.

TaLe’s Web2.0 and Social Media page

Check out 20 Web2.0 Tools for Teachers and Librarians for some more Web2.0 Tools.

Pip Cleaves’ Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy and Web 2 Tools Poster

Bloom’s Taxonomy & Web2.0 – Edorigami

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »