Akrotiri Primary School, Cyprus

| January 29, 2008 | 6 Comments 

A fun day at Akrotiri School, (and a joint staff meeting with Episkopi) where we looked at visual literacy and also had a session investigating the power of blogging.

Thank you to all the staff and children for a great, fun and challenging time. I am particularly grateful to Kate for her very knowledgeable technical assistance throughout the day. Kate has an interesting background in 3-D worlds as she worked as part of a team purchasing simulations for the M.O.D. We had a few surreal moments to day including having to put a projector into “High Altitude Mode” just before we climbed up a huge towering plant!

Well done to Nicola and Nicola who survived a tense Doors of Doom Challenge through some (audience-assisted) team work.

The children today had some great, imaginative ideas. Well done to all those who surprised themselves (and their teachers 😀 )

Meanwhile, back at the blogging ranch…

Sensible steps for safe blogging

The power of the Blog is awesome yet with that power comes responsibility – that of safeguarding your blog and your pupils from all the nasty, spammy and plain dodgy stuff that we all know is out there. These problems can be overcome and shouldn’t really be a barrier to the potential benefits to be gained. Indeed, it’s a good opportunity to share and discuss these issues of web responsibility with pupils in circle and SEAL time.

You may find that your blog starts to attract undesirable interjections in the way of ’spam’ (unwanted e-mail), nuisance and uninformed comments. Most of that spam will come from ‘comments’ to you or your students’ posts. Children being children, will post comments on each others blogs, most likely in mobile phone text format, “darren u smell.” While that may indeed be true, it’s not the sort of silly stuff you want on the blog. Even well meaning but ill-thought-through comments can be harmful to self esteem. (I still worry about my spelling thanks to a comment my dad made on my essay on Tornadoze! ) 😀

So the sensible thing to do is to set up your blog to only show comments that you or your administrator, have approved. In your Admin Control Panel, tick the box that allows you to ‘moderate’ any comments before they appear on the blog. You will be e-mailed when a comment has been posted and then it’s up to you to approve it or delete it. This is another reason why it is good to set the administrator’s e-mail to one that you, and only you, check regularly, and carefully. Don’t be flattered into “approving” all of the comments your blog receives. Even an apparently innocuous comment such as, “Hey! Fantastic blog! Michael,” could contain a link to a site selling those bright blue pills that help various parts of your anatomy… Putting these controls in place and being a little bit wary will prevent automatically-generated spam comments but also these inappropriate and unwelcome comments from individuals. Both of the Blogging platforms I’ve mentioned do have effective anti-spam systems.

As we touched on earlier, before they start contributing to the blog, it is important that children are aware of the rules of ‘net-iquette’. The risks of blogging are very much the same as with any other website or email system but, because it is so easy to update blogs, anyone writing in a blog should ensure that the blog contains no information that could potentially identify them. Ideally, your guidance for blogging should form part of the school’s internet and web acceptable use policy. At the excellent Hope School blog site, Class 2 have devised their own set of ‘blog rules’ to make sure blogging is fun and safe. The rules include a range of behavioural advice from “Don’t give out your address or phone number or any personal details” to “Remember from our RE lessons, you’ve got to be a friend to have a friend.” Visit the rules and the blog itself HERE

Category: 1) Events and Training days, 2) Useful n Interesting

Comments (6)

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  1. Anne Wilson says:

    Hi Tim,

    Thank you for such an inspirational talk. I’ve spent the evening looking at the websites you suggested and I’ve been amazed at the quality of information available.

    Thanks again
    Anne (Ed Psych)

  2. Fiona Kirby says:

    Thanks Tim..we are re-inspired and re-energised to make literacy exciting!!!
    Love Myst and can see loads of possibilties for using with Year 1. We are doing Fantasy setting stories next week. Great timing.


  3. Paul McCool says:

    Hi Tim,
    Thanks for all of your hard work with Y2 (I know you enjoyed it really…), Y6, Blogging and the presentation after school. I have had many positive comments and several people wanting to attend the day’s training on Friday- a true testament to you.
    I have already tried Myst with my class and am looking forward to using PowerPoint in many innovative ways.
    Thanks again!
    PS Do you know whay ‘Ctrl K’ does?

  4. Neal says:

    Thanks for coming over to the sunny island of Cyprus – just a quick update on Akrotiri. Melissa has recovered from her concussion, Thomas has just about got over the shock of having to pick up a pencil and write, while some teachers (Margaret, its your play ground duty!!) are spending breaktimes playing MYST. Overall, I think everyone enjoyed the visit so thanks once again.

  5. Jen Griffin says:

    Thanks so much for curing my ICT phobia. I’ve learnt so many new skills to use in the classroom. It was great to be given time to explore skills taught and to be presented with so many creative ways of using them with children.

    The cross-curricular possibilities for using MYST are endless. The writing produced, by Y6 children, after just an hour with Tim was stunning. ‘ Mountains moaning for more strength’, just a tiny part of a piece of writing, from one boy who finds it challenging to sustain concentration and focus.

    Thank you!

  6. It is very pleasing to see the efforts put into finding new and innovative materials for the SCE ICT Conference reaching staff in school. I know that Tim has been to, and is going to, a number of SCE schools in Germany, Cyprus and Brunei and the work he has done has left a lasting impression.

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