I’ve been busy digitizing family photos. It’s been a quick process with the older photos. Place the photos on a table outside where there is good light with minimal glare and take pictures of the photos using my digital camera.
But this technique won’t work for the newer glossy photos due to glare issues.
Below is a small sample of my section on clocks and calendars so you can see the type of information shared for each widget.
Clocks and Calendars
Clocks are great for displaying the time in your location which helps when you are trying to develop connections with classes in other countries. They also help younger students learn about time and time zones
Clock Link – 100’s of different and unique clocks of all types.
I really struggled writing this post. I’m not sure why? Perhaps because normally during the writing process I’ll do a lot of research?
This post I just wanted to provide a couple of tips that have helped me over the year when implementing change.
Each helped in different ways including:
Handle my emotions better when a student expresses their frustrations at changes after spending hours planning sessions.
Accept that when delivering professional development that constraints that I have no control will impact — and change takes time.
And if the tips don’t help — I’ve gone with Plan B!
A couple of funny videos (maybe I should have gone with cat videos?).
Response To Change
We each respond differently to change!
While we can’t control how others will respond to being asked to change we can control how we react to their responses.
Whenever we ask someone to do something differently we are asking them to change, to let go of the familiar, to trust you in where you are taking them and what you are doing. The people you are asking to change are used to doing it one way, now you are saying lets try it another way!
Not everyone wants to change! Familiar is known, comfortable and secure.
Change is uncharted water; many people’s natural and rational response is resistance. Emotionally change can simultaneously bring joy and sorrow, gain and loss, satisfaction and disappointment.
There will always be a small number of people whose automatic response to any form of change will be to complain.
Understanding the impact change can have on others helped me:
Accept that there will always be some that will complain or get upset.
Taught me not to take it personally.
Helped me handle my emotions better.
Manage resistance better.
Appreciate the need to discuss their feelings.
Time Taken To Effect Change
Implementing change takes time; change is not something that happens overnight.
For example, implementing a small change within an organisation can take 3-5 years compared to a large change that can take 5 – 10 year.
Often when we implement change we don’t allow adequate time for the change to occur. Our focus should be on long term strategies.
This post is part of the ongoing #EdublogsClub series. This week’s writing prompt was to write a post that discusses leadership, peer coaching, and/or effecting change.
My other tips? Research information on change management. It helped me even if I couldn’t express my ideas well.
Feel free to leave your own tips (or links to funnier videos).
People I meet in person often find what I do unusual because I’m a remote worker who works very flexible hours. And those who know me online often assume I’m based in their time zone, USA time zone, or I’m a bot!
So I thought sharing a glimpse of my work life would provide an insight into what life is like as a remote worker.
And off course Twitter! I have TweetDeck set up on my computer set up logged in @suewaters and @edublogs so I can quickly provide assistance by Twitter as needed.
Any time Any Where
I don’t work standard hours. My work hours are flexible to fit in with when I need to work with other team members and to support our users. And my phone is my portable work office for when I need to deal with something quickly if I’m away from my computer.
After all the articles written on why we shouldn’t take our mobile devices to bed, you would have thought that I would have learned by now?
The After Midnight Google Hangout
Even after accidentally answering Google Hangout after midnight when I turned over the device.
Nothing like a live webinar from bed at 1 AM answering questions when you can barely think (and not dressed for the occasion).
FYI William Chamberlain in the above photo isn’t the person who rang me! He was one of the participants and probably wondered why I was making no sense.
Waking Up To Snakes
Or waking up to snake photos from my South African work colleague who was excited to share his latest photos; knowing I’m scared of snakes and I would be seeing the images as I wake up once he was asleep.
It took a year to understand why I should blog after being shown a blog (2006) to starting my own blog (2007). Prior to starting my own blog, I shared my learning via podcasts and wikis; it wasn’t until I reached the point where I wanted to reflect on my learning that I started blogging.
For me it was a combination of not understanding, 1) what is a blog, and 2) the importance of reflection, sharing, connected learning and learning as part of a community.
I’m passionate about blogging because it:
Helped me become a better writer — I passionately believe that if blogging can help someone like me who continues to struggle with language it can help others that are like myself.
Gave me a voice and mechanism to share my thoughts and help others.
Changed my life — blogging resulted in changing my career from an aquaculture lecturer to employment as the Support Manager for Edublogs and CampusPress. Many of my fellow edubloggers have had similar life changes as a result of their blogging.
What’s even more incredible with my blogging journey is I’ve battled writing and processing language my entire life. While my English teacher and I would agree that my expression continues to be rather odd at times — blogging helped me become a better writer.
It’s not perfect — and continues to be a work in progress — but I can’t imagine any of my English teachers or I would ever thought that one day I would be paid to write.
Blogging Turning Point
Looking back on my blogging journey one of the key events that made me a better blogger was participating in Darren Rowse’s 31 Days Project in 2007.
We formed our own community and worked through Darren Rowse’s 31 Days Project as a group. It was an intense month — where we read each others posts and learnt together — and collectively improved our blogging skills. Commenting and reading each others posts was as important as writing our own posts.
My advice to those participating in the weekly #EdublogsClub is make it a goal to read and comment on as many of the posts as possible. You learn as much, if not more, by reading/commenting as writing your posts and it helps generate ideas for things to blog about.
Remember blogging isn’t about writing. It’s about connecting, reflecting and sharing. Mix it up with video, audio and embed cool tools into your posts.
And don’t forget — what is Obvious to you is amazing to others. Don’t assume others know what you know. There is always someone who will be grateful of what you shared — even if they don’t necessarily tell you.
We will be inviting participants in our session to share what they would like to learn during the session so we can personalize it to their needs.
Before the conference I’m trying to crowd source what you would like to know about student blogging — if you were able to attend a session on student blogging — to help us prepare as many answers as we can!
I’ll be publishing follow-up posts after the conference to provide the information we shared in the session and to answer any questions readers left on this post.
How you can help
Please leave a comment below to answers any of the following questions!
If you are new to blogging with students, or never blogged with students, we would like to know the following:
What you would like to know about blogging with students?
What grade(s)/subjects do you teach?
Your class blog URL (optional).
For those experienced with blogging with students we would like to know:
Last weekend at our local WordPress Meetup some members suggested we share the plugins we use. Plugins can be very personal depending on the type of site you’re developing however I thought others would be interested in the plugins we use on Edublogs and our CampusPress networks.
So here it goes!
Here’s a summary of the plugins we provide for our users on Edublogs and our CampusPress networks as well as insight into the process we use when looking for new plugins.
About Edublogs | CampusPress
Here’s a bit of background on Edublogs and CampusPress to help provide insight into our plugin usage.
Edublogs is the largest education blogging platform on the web and hosts over 3 million blogs since 2005. CampusPress is our white-labelled WordPress for Education solution for Schools, School Districts and Universities that want us to host the service on their own domain. We host hundreds of WordPress Multisite networks customized specifically for education on CampusPress.
Edublogs and CampusPress are part of the Incsub which is also behind WPMU DEV. WPMU DEV is the largest premium WordPress site on the web. Our team has more than 60 WordPress experts.
Edublogs and WordPress.com are both hosted solutions but have been customized specifically to meet the needs of their users. WordPress.com includes the more popular plugin functionality within their sites automatically. Users don’t see a plugin menu item and can’t activate plugins.
We use a different approach to plugins on Edublogs. Plugins that provide key functionality are automatically activated on all sites. Examples of these types of plugins are the Classes plugin (powers My Class) and Reader plugin (powers the Reader). Classes and Reader plugins were developed specifically for Edublogs by our developers and you’ll only find them on Edublogs and CampusPress networks.
We also provide plugins that our users can activate in Plugins > All menu in the dashboard of their sites. We don’t automatically activate these plugins because not all users want access to all plugins. There is no need to add extra menu items, features or functionality by activating a plugin if it isn’t needed.
Plugin Review Process
Edublogs and CampusPress is powered by a customized version of WordPress multisite. Plugins are often designed to work on a single installs of self hosted WordPress and may not work or can cause problems on WordPress Multisite.
All plugins we install are thoroughly tested to ensure they won’t cause issues such as compatibility problems with other plugins and themes or impact server performance.
Does the plugin provide a feature or functionality that many of our users would want?
Does the plugin have potential to cause compatibility problems with other plugins and themes or impact server performance?
Is the plugin user friendly? The less user friendly the more likely the plugin won’t be used.
New plugins are chosen based on requests for specific plugins or functionality from our users; or functionality we know our users would like. Where possible we try to provide a plugin that provides the functionality our users want rather than provide several plugins that have similar functionality.
For example, we’re currently looking at adding a Slider plugin as it is a common request. We start by looking at the specific plugins users have requested and compare them to review articles to see what others have said about the plugin.
Our testing process once we’re identified suitable plugins is:
Test on a single install of WordPress (to confirm the plugin is user friendly).
Test on Edublogs (Super admin user activated only as sometimes we need to make additional customizations for our server set up or to make it more user friendly).
Change to Edublogs Pro so users can use.
Upload to CampusPress networks once tested on Edublogs.
Below is a summary of the plugins users can activate in Plugins > All on Edublogs and CampusPress networks. Occasionally we change the plugin name to make it more meaningful for our users so where possible I’ve linked their plugin name to where you can download the original plugin.
You may also find out Edublogs User Guide documentation helpful. Most of it is applicable to any WordPress powered blog. We try to provide very detailed instructions with screenshots since our users range from very young students across all educational sectors.
Edublogs Help link
3D Rotating Cloud
Adds the Wp-Culumus widget to Appearance > Widget which you use to add a beautiful rotating and animated representation of all your tags and categories to your blog sidebar.
*Modified to check a banned word list to make safer search.
Easy tool to quickly find, add Creative Commons images to your posts with attribution. Once activated it adds a Compfight icon to your visual editor which you use to search and insert images using Compfight.
Jetpack is a single plugin that provides a suite of different features including post by email, ability to control which pages widgets are shown on, slideshows, extra image gallery option, auto post to your social media accounts, social share options and more.
Allows you to embed video and audio files inside an embedded player so your visitors can view them directly in their web browser. Enhances WordPress’ existing podcast support by adding multiple iTunes-compatible feeds, media players, and an easy to use interface
May 21 is Fitbit’s #GoalDay2016 which encourages Fitbit community members to reach their personal step goal tomorrow.
Every day is a goal day for me while #GoalDay2016 as a great way to encourage us all to focus about our need to move more.
My Step Goal
Last year I decided I had to work harder on living a healthier life. Over the years my work changed from being very physically demanding to sedentary. Which hasn’t been good for my health. Besides eating a healthier diet, I set a goal of walking 10,000 steps every day. I’ve tried other forms of exercise and found unless it is an activity I do every day I eventually stop.
10,000 steps per day works for me. It’s been part of my life since August 31. During this time there has only be a few days where I haven’t reached my goal. It ensures I move more than I did and I’m healthier than I was. It also models to my children the importance of setting goals and focusing on living a healthier life style.
My routine varies slightly with the season and day of the week. But most days I achieve my steps by doing a 6 KM (3.73 M) morning walk and a 4 KM (2.5 M) afternoon/evening walk. My weekend walks are longer as I use them to catch up and socialize with friends on longer walks.
I use a Fitbit, even though I hate wearing anything on my wrist, because having the stats easily accessible on my wrist pushes me each day. I’ve used a Fitbit Flex, Charge and now have a Fitbit Surge. I like the Surge because it has built in GPS (which I like for mapping my longer walks) and it automatically detects/tracks any exercise.
You can also use Health apps on phones. I avoided this option because I try not to take my phone when walking — it is my Internet free time.
Any one want to join me for #GoalDay2016? You can connect with me on Fitbit or leave a comment if you don’t use a Fitbit and are using a different device to track your steps.
Achieving my personal goal on May 21 will be challenging — you might beat me! We’re expecting 10 to 20 mm of rain with possible thunderstorms. But that mightn’t deter me. One of my favorite walks (on my own) was 11 KM where I completed the second half the walk in the rain.
PS This weekend I’m participating in my first event with my husband. A 12 KM (7.45 M) walk in the HBF Run for a Reason. We’re both looking forward to it.