Thursday, 26 July 2012

digital: digital tools we love, part II

Okay so today is all about blogging! If you're wanting to start a blog from scratch there is tons of helpful tutorials and guidance out there as well I'm sure as debates about the best way to do things and the best platform to use but at the end of the day it's what you feel comfortable with and what works for you! We were familiar with blogger, having used it ourselves, and so we went with that! If you want to use blogger and feel like you want some help getting started I'd watch bloggers tutorials for the simple basic bits and then head over to Pugly Pixel for some awesome tutorials for customising templates and so on, if you want to get into that!  

So what do we actually use blogs for? I mentioned briefly some of what we do in part I, but what I want to discuss today is lesson blogs. We have lesson blogs for each class which we use to post lesson by lesson content, so by the end of the year we'll have a whole course worth of posts. What's great about it is although the first year you're starting from scratch, in the second year you can simply re-post or edit what's already there! It's also a godsend if you're starting to teach a new course as the resources are right there. It's also brilliant in terms of quality assurance if you are delivering the same course twice (we always have at least 2 Graphics classes for example!) as you know that both groups are getting the same provisions, even if they might have a different teacher! It also means you can divide up the work load and share resources really easily! 

For the students it means they can access all the resources easily, even if they miss a class and they can refer back to resources, tutorials, tasks etc. at a later date if needed. It also provides them with more interactive resources, you can share everything from worksheets and articles to high quality image and video. Extending learning has also become easier as you can provide extension tasks easily, be it a little article, an extra tutorial or technique or simply additional artists/designers for students to look at. Students can also comment on posts meaning they can get in touch anytime - this could be for extra help or as part of a discussion, we've used commenting as a way of gathering some learner voice feedback for some of our projects. 

We set our lesson blogs to private so only ourselves and our students can access them, we like it this way as it becomes our and our students own little space and we don't have to worry about spam comments and so on! Obviously though it's not terribly exciting for me to talk about lesson blogs without showing you them - so I've made a short video which talks you through a couple of our lesson blogs so you can find out more about how we use them....

So that's a bit about blogging! If you want to catch up on previous posts you can check out part I, here.
- Claire 

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