Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Congratulations Graham!!!

Graham Stanley works for British Council in Barcelona. He has his own ELT website and blogger
He has just been made moderator of the ELT Bloggers at the BBC Searchenglish Discussion Groups . He is now busy completing the dissertation for his M.Ed. in Educational technology and ELT.

Way to go!!!

Monday, January 26, 2004

Trends in Collaborative Learning

"What are the key trends and developments in online learning and collaboration"?
This is a wonderful presentation I had the opportunity of viewing and listening to yesterday. Jay Cross from Internet Time has been credited with coining the now-popular term "e-learning" and stresses the need of creating a "culture of learning" as in the end it is the people who matter - technology is always secondary. This is what webheads is all about :-)

The software used for the presentation is quite impressive as well Breeze from Macromedia. But I do not even want to dream about how much this may cost. I have some dream-catchers hanging next to my bed !

Excellent Article on Blogging

I have just read an excellent article on Blogging by Will Richardson called " Blogging and RSS — The "What's It?" and "How To" of Powerful New Web Tools for Educators "
which appeared in Information Today in the Multimedia and Internet for Schools section. I strongly recommend it for those who are about to start blogging. It gives you many tips and ideas and a clear outline what blogging can do for teachers and students.

Squawkbox X Haloscan

I have not managed to change the template of the squawk box so that it would not show the IP... would have to upgrade, which I do not feel like doing. So...will change and try Graham's suggestion of login in and opening another account with a different user name. I am also going to add the shout box I have on Beeonline in case people just want to say hi and not post anything related to what I am writing.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Back to Comment Window

Apparently the comment window is working as I can read Jm´s and Graham´s comments without having to log into my squawkbox account. I wonder whether other people can see them as well. I do not like the fact that our IPs appear next to the post. I will try to find another template so as not to show it. Privacy is good and I like it.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Comment Box and RSS

I have included a comment box by SquawkBox but I am not very satisfied with it because when people write a comment other people cannot see it - and I can do it only by opening my account online. I miss Blogspeak, Harry! Not only could we see the comments but they were also sent by email to us.

In Squawk you must upgrade to PRO version to allow your visitors to share comments. This does not suit me at all as what I am looking for is more interaction. I will try to find something else

I have also inserted Feedster (RSS) (see link on the right hand side) but still have not grasped exactly how it works and what to do with it. Will be back on that next week.

So leaving you with this for the time being and disappearing for some time. Have a nice weekend.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Changing the Look/Adding Stats

Ok...I managed to change the look after some messing around. Please do not ask me to reproduce it, I cannot report here what I did because it was literally a mess.

The stats (blue square at the very bottom on the right) are quite easy to insert and the information given on the website is straightforward. Just copy a bit of code and place it where you would like it to appear on the page.

I will have to look for another comment box as from what I could understand, Haloscan only allows me to have one and this one happens to be on Bee Online...(to be continued)

Powepoint Presentation and Plans: stats and chat box

I have just followed the Power Point Presentation about how to be a moderator and present at Talking Communities. I get amazed at how fast technology is developing and all the tools that we can use to enhance our teaching. They also offer us FREE 300 minutes in a room of our own to present - or just practice with our own material. I will engage in this next.

Anyhow, back to blogging. Now I am going to try and change the template of my blog. I do not want it to be all orange but would like some blue. So...moving to the Template area...then I copy the whole code and paste it on a blank page of Dreamweaver...and play around with colours and code.

My next stop will be to add a counter so that I can see how many visits I have a day (check your attendance) and if this is becoming at all popular :-).

Finally, I am still planning to add a chat box and a comment line so that you can interact with me. I will document it as well.


So...Blogjet is not exactly like Dreamweaver because although it generates code (you will see it on the blogger post window), it does not allow you to post HTML as well. I discovered this when I tried to link the image. When you are working inside the blogger, to post an image you just put

<img src="http://the_english_dept.tripod.com/images/pawswalk.gif">

so the image will show, while here, what you get is what you see :-)....
by the way, there is a space between img src ...I cannot put it here or the image will show...

so back to work... In order to post an image to the free version of the blogger I need to enter blogger and include the the line above inside the post area where I want the image to appear. So...my conclusion is that if you have Dreamweaver or another WYSIWYG developing tool, do not bother about Blogjet because you can copy and paste the code inside the Blogger posting area. If you are a newbie without HTML knowledge, it may help you at the beginning.

Oops...the picture does not load

After posting it, I had a little problem. There was a message indicating the picture could not be uploaded. I had forgotten that the free Blogger does not host any images :-(   ...you must bring them from elsewhere through a link or else subscribe to a PRO version. 

I clicked then on Blog + View Blog Page and the published page appeared right in front of me immediately.

I will now go back to the previous post and link the image. This can be done by clicking on Blog + View History. You are told to wait and then you get a window where you can edit what you have done.

Using Blog Jet

I have just setup Blogjet, and documented the whole process step by step
for you to see how easy this is.

  • I copied the the different set up windows (Ctrl + Alt+ PrtSc ) and pasted them in Paint Shop Pro (Ctr V).
  • I saved them as jpg files and will inserty them on a Dreamweaver HTML file that I will upload to my server. This will serve as a guide through the process if you find it difficult. However, the set up process is very user friendly so I do not think you will need them.
  •  This window is what you get when you click on the Blogjet icon which appears on your desktop after existing setup. This text is being written directly on the window screen.
  • All the format tags such as bold, italic, underline ,colouand bullets are  easy to find, just like in Word or Paint. You can also add pictures as the one above by clicking on the photograph icon at the top. I miss the tables...who knows we will get them in the next version as this is beta.

And now...I am going to post it by clicking on blog + post and publish. Let's see what it looks like.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Anguish and Tips

Today I got a fright...when I tried to open Bee online, I had a blank page. This is the problem when we have free hosts...when something goes wrong, we cannot complain.

When it finally came alive, Harry's Blogspeak comment line was gone (it used to be a free service). Fortunately, he was kind and considerate to direct us to Haloscan, which looks simple and efficient.

Many web developers are like us...webheads, who do it out of love, but there is a moment, for some, like Harry, who cannot continue unless they have some kind of support or sponsoring. The same goes for owning and managing a site. The English Department was launched in 1998 on Tripod, first on a free basis, with some pop-ups which started interfering with my hotpotatoes code. Last year, I decided to upgrade it and now I they charge me every month to keep it going. It is a great job and I love it but it costs me time and money.

I have some trouble with the HTML coding as I have not learnt it but I get by. I use Dreamweaver 4 for my site so when there is something I cannot manage, I just copy the whole code on a Dreamweaver blank page , work in there and re-post it once it looks the way I want it to be.

Surfing today I downloaded a programme called Blogjet, which I believe may solve my problem. According to the blurb: "With BlogJet you can easily make posts with different colors and fonts, insert pictures and links without knowing how to code HTML, just like you edit documents in Word. BlogJet displays formatted text in the editor so it looks like the same as it will appear in browser. " Fantastic ! A Dreamweaver for blogs! I still have to install it and verify (to be continued)

I'd like to make Bee online as interactive and equipped as possible to show the students and other teachers all the possibilities we have. This morning I read an interesting article on blogging in the New York Times called My So Called Blog by Emily Nussbaum and published on January 11th 2004. It gives you a psychological insight on how young people are using the blogs and how they feel about them.

Another good link for prospective bloggers is:
Ten Tips for a Better Weblog

And if you are already a seasoned blogger take an MIT Survey

Monday, January 19, 2004

Meta-blogging - how it all started

Although I started a blog with my students and a collaborative blog among teachers almost a year ago, I have not opened one for myself until now.

Many may be the reasons, lack of time being the first and easiest for people to understand and excuse, but deep inside, mostly not wanting to become involved with something I would not be able to keep up.

But now I have been asked to give a chat on blogs so I must at least have some feeling on how the whole thing works from the writer's side. So here I am, in the process of bee-coming a real webhead ,documenting my work and reflecting on what I am doing as I participate in this workshop as well.