Blogging at Vermont Fest

Getting on Board with Blogging Presentation for VermontFest 2005


Concurrent Workshop - Thursday Overview


Our plans for the Concurrent Workshop are to be ready to cover the topics listed above, but mostly be driven by the topics that most interest the group. The session will be lead by Lucie deLaBruere (who has been exploring blogging as a tool for several years) and Helen Poulin (a classroom teacher who started using blogs in her Spanish classes last year). An hour session with a room full of people won’t allow us to cover it all. But this blog will provide an opportunity for participants to explore the topics in further depth. Although a blog is not a great presentation tool, I experimented with transferring my PowerPoint presentation to this format so that I could model the features and experience of blogging. In the last post of this blog, I will add some thoughts about how this worked (or didn’t work). But for now….. on with the show.

Personal Blogging History

I don't consider myself a blog expert, but a blog experimenter. I've always had a pioneering spirit when it comes to exploring new tech tools, so I started playing with blogs with students in 2001.

Blogging as a Communication Tool
I was starting a new job as a Teacher Leader for Vermont Institutes. This would mean leaving the classroom for a few years, however there was a small group of students whom I had already approved independent studies for in advanced tech classes. I figured the new rookie teacher replacing me had plenty of challenges ahead, so I agreed to coach them using online tools.
Thus was born my my first Blogging Experiment with students.
No specific instructional design was behind the blogging experiment. It was mostly a functional tool. Necessity is the mother of invention. Here is my site and links to the students sites.
Remember that this was pre September 11 (the world felt like a safer place). You'll notice several practices that I would not consider 'safe' blogging today. Here is a student's reflection about indepenent learning using blogging (from the early years).

Other ways I've used blogs since include:

Bloggin as Project Management Tool for a Class Project
Cyberfair Collaboration

In this example, a group of students were working on a collaborative department wide project. They were in different classes and did not see each other face to face on a daily basis. Here they all shared the same username and password and distinguished their entries by including their names as part of the post. They posted notes as a project management strategy. Click on the Cyberfair Collaboration beginning entry, then hit Previous 5 link at the bottom of each page to view the sequence. You will note that blogs are in reverse chronological order, which means you must ready them backwards to get a sequence (unless the blogger uses a few tricks to change the presentation) Feel free to explore how this group of students used their blog to manage their project.

Blogging as a Grant Project Documentation

As you know, many grants awarded to pilots require that you document your process, so that others can learn from your experience. We experimented with using a blog for this purpose for our TSLC grant project. This worked great early in the project, but we discovered that some people were uncomfortable with some of the blog entries that described some of the challenges we experienced. We deleted those entries, but left the TSLC blog up for occasional spotty entries. A password protected blog would have been more appropriate.

Blogging as a Community Builder

Blogs as Community Building News Sites for St. Albans City School.
In my new job at St. Albans City School, I discovered that the Building Community was a huge part of the school mission. Blogs are a great tool to support this goal. There has been in increase in interest, and new departments are getting on board.

Blogging as a Collaborative PresentationTool

An online graduate class I'm enrolled in at UVM, was given a group assignment. Our group experimented with this new blog tool to create a group presentation for our Inquiry Based Learning Class. As facilitator for the project, I organized the Blog, and other group members added information from their role using the comments feature. I chose this new blog tool because it had some new features (i.e. CATEGORIES) that made for interesting organization and presentation of the material. Caution: this tool is still in beta stage.

Blogging as a Personal Journal

Teens are using blogs to this way at an increasing rate. Some of their most popular places to blog are LiveJournal and MySpace. (Ethan, thanks for the PEW link)

Just for the fun of it I experimentedwith a personal blog entry a year ago. (note that I never had time to go back and add to it, but it was fun to re-read this when I was preparing for this presentation).

Blogging in Vermont Classrooms

A tech-savvy friend of mine has set up a blog on her own server using GreyMatter as a Classroom Management Tool. (Thanks for sharing it, Jen)

Recently I've coached some teachers at NCUHS in the design and implementation of blog projects. Helen Poulin, the co-presenter in this presentation, is a brave pioneer, and has led her department in the use of blogs as part of our TSLC grant project. She started a year ago with Photos and Text in Blogs. This year she is experimenting with Audio and Video Blogging.

Helen's inspiration has encouraged her colleagues to jump on board. Check out the Student Products. In Year 2, Helen is working with audio and video blogging with some of the returning students. As of this posting, video is not ready for prime time yet, but check out Kennon's poetry in graphic and audio format.

Colleague Bob Lareau approaches it from a different angle with French Students. He introduced TravelLog's Site to visiting French Exchange students from France and gave them training, tools, time, to blog about their visit. Their post were not only of interest to their own families across the ocean, but also to their host families. After their visits, Mr. Lareau constructed 10 instructional activities for his French students using the recently created blogs of their guest as content. Mr. Lareau documented his original project using Publisher's web creation tools. The

Although no specific instructional activity was desgined around it, some NC students heading to Germany decided to give blogging a try and kept a Travel-Log site during their Exchange visit.

Mr. Lareau recruited Ms. Young in the use of blogs by students studying English as a Second Language practice their English skills while creating sense of community. The project participants are exploring inviting students from other schools to participate. In some rural schools, these students have few peers from their culture. A joint blogging project may be a way to connect with other American students from their home culture.

What is Blogging?

•Merriam-Webster defines a blog as: "a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments and often hyperlinks".

The term "blog" has been chosen as the top word of 2004 by a US dictionary publisher.

Blogging History


Technorati was tracking over 14.2 million weblogs, and over 1.3 billion links in July 2005.

The blogosphere continues to double about every 5.5 months.

•A new blog is created about every second, there are over 80,000 blogs created daily.

•About 55% of all blogs are active, and that has remained a consistent statistic for at least a year.

•About 13% of all blogs are updated at least weekly.

The Future?????

Who can imagine what next?

Check out Robin Sloans prediction?

Blogging in Education


Blogging for Educators - A Sampling

Learn2blog – Elementary school$12

A Blog Tool for Schools
Set up class blogs and student blogs
Features like (post must be approved by teacher)

Blogs in Education
This blog is a quick (i.e. not comprehensive) introduction to blogging for educators, with hands-on steps for getting started in using MovableType as well as some conjecture on using MT in different educational contexts.

BlogEducating (blogs place in education)



Blogs are Easy to Use


Blogging Tools

Blogger – Google partner (easy, stable)
Xanga – I liked getting email subscription
LiveJournal – Teen favorite
MySpace – Another Teen favorite
Iblogs – New (with Category feature)
Schoolblogs – school friendly
Blogmeister – classroom blogging tool
Greymatter – install on your server

Blogging Basics Using Blogger

Blogging Basics Using Blogger

Creating an Account
Posting (Writing)/ Publishing

Simple tutorial on getting started. See Also Blogger Help.

Group Blogging

Group Blogging

Invite members to you blog
Each of you can post

The person with the most authority is the one who created the blog
Good feature for class project blogs
Perhaps set the student blogs with yourself as the CREATOR

Audio Blogging

this is an audio post - click to play

Audio Blogging is easy.

Blog while traveling across the U.S. on a bike. Blog from the road.

Check out the directions at:

Here are some notes Helen created for her class:

Things to remember when audioblogging: visit

1. The first step is to log in. Use the same user name and password that you used on your blog. Then enter a phone number with zip code and a four digit ID pin number. You are now logged on and have created a user profile. You will now click on the home key.

2. The next step is to start audioblogging now. The important thing to remember is that you must choose the appropriate blog (use the toggle) in which you would like to insert sound.

3. You will need to call the number: 415 – 856 – 0205. Then a voice will come on that will instruct you to enter your phone number, (including your area code) and to press 1 if it is OK. Then you will be instructed to enter your pin number with a pound sign at the end. Once these steps are completed, the voice will tell you to begin recording after the tone (which is a rather funny sound).

4. After recording, you will press the pound key. Once again you will hear a voice instructing you to press 1 if you would like to make another post. It will tell you to press 2 if you would like to listen to your recording. It will tell you to press 3 if you would like to re-record. The instructions for pressing 1 were very confusing to me at first. If you press 1, the voice will tell you to press one again if you wish to make another post. Each post may be up to five minutes in duration. It will tell you to press 2 if you wish to hang up. The voice will then tell you that if you are satisfied with your post, you may hang up.

5. If you wish to post another sound byte to your blog at a later time, you will need to repeat the process.

More exciting news… There is always more to learn and this time a student taught me how…

I had taught my students how to edit their audio posts by date so that each audio posting would appear after their written post. One of my students thought that there might be a more efficient way to do this. Through trial and error, he learned that if you sign on to the blog and choose the blog you wish to work on, you will come to a page that allows you to edit your post. You can click on the toggle button next to your written post in order to verify that this is the posting in which you wish to insert your sound. Then go back to your audioblog and click on the toggle that says edit post. Next, click on the edit html. tab. Copy this text and then click on edit post. Go to the posting you wish to edit, click on edit html. again, and paste the html. code at the bottom of your written work. My student told me one does not need to worry about spacing although I did skip two spaces. Save your changes and voilá, your audioblog will be incorporated directly into your written posting making it appear neater and better organized. One last thing you need to remember is go back to your original audioblog by clicking on edit posts and delete it. You don’t want two audioblogs with the same message.


Video Blogging


Video Blogging

Integrating video in your blog is a little trickier, but becoming easier every day.
Try this Tutorial – for creating videos and hosting them in space. Add then to your blog.

This is probably for REAL pioneers.Of course you can host your own video if you have server space
You might want to check out Google Video as it evolves.

------------ some notes that Helen prepared for her class -------------------

Notes on vlogging….

Step 1 – Create a blog on
Use your name and password to log in. Create a new blog and name it, for example,
Next, edit your profile to invite new users so that other members of your group may contribute to the blog.

Step 2 – Make a screen capture on a PC
First select a frame that you like in Windows Media Player by moving the toggle on the bottom of the screen to the frame of your choice. Click on the tools button, click on options and then click on the performance tab. This will allow you to move the toggle button from full to none. (After you have made your screen capture, you should move this toggle back to full so that your video will run properly.)
Next, press (Fn) and Alt and Print Screen to take a picture of your selected frame. You can then open Paint in Accessories, click on the edit button and paste your picture. Then click on file, save as, desktop. Give your picture a name and save it as a jpeg.
You now have a picture on your desktop ready to be loaded to the Internet Archive.

Step 3 – Compress your video
If you want to place a Windows Movie Maker file on the web, it is best to compress it in order to save on the time it takes to download it on the internet. In order to do this you must first open Windows Movie Maker and choose import movie on the menu bar. Then you should drag the individual pieces of the movie onto the storyboard. Next choose save to my computer on the menu bar. Name the movie file and choose a place to save it. Then click on next, and then show more choices. Choose other settings and click on the drop down bar. Choose video for broadband 150 kpbs. Next, click on next and you will see the screen telling you that it is saving the compressed movie file. Finally, click on finish.

Step 4 – Sign up for the Internet Archive and Our Media Accounts
Go to which is a free place to store photos and video. Click join us on the far right. A terms of use screen will appear, click O.K. On the next screen type in your e-mail, your password, your screen name which you can compare to your internet handle. Then click on get library card. You will be congratulated.
Next, go to Use the login and password that you used for the Internet Archive. Then click on save. You now have your own page on

Step 5 – Publish up to 20 MB of video
Login on and go to my controls on the left side of the screen. Select publish my media and then choose video. A new screen will appear. You will need to fill in all of the required field boxes that are starred with a red asterisk. Next click on the browse button, find your video and open it. You will then need to select video type which is videoblog.
On the next screen, you should fill in the author/artist button. Then you should fill in the description box. Your description should be at least 5 words long. Scroll down to

basic details and then scroll down to creative comments. Click no on allow commercial use. (People may still use your work but, they will need your permission and they must give you credit for your work). You can click yes on share alike modification. The jurisdiction is generic. Then click on submit.
A new screen will pop up called your demo vlog. Click URL link and copy the link location. This action copies the URL to your video. (It may be a good idea to copy and paste this link into a word document because you might need it again later.)

Step 6 – Post video and images on your blog
Go to and log in using your user name and password. You will come to your dashboard where you will select the blog you wish to work on. You will then click on new post and the posting template will appear. Next click on compose and give your post a title such as my first video.
To add an image, use the browse button to go back to the desktop and find your screen capture saved as a jpeg. Click on open and then choose a layout for your image size. (A small image will upload more quickly.) You may also elect to check use this layout every time. Next, click on load this image and your image will appear on your blog. You can click next to the image to begin posting.
Some people may not realize you can click on the image to view the video. For this reason, it is important to make a text link such as: “Click here to view video.” Select your text and click on the link button. To enter a URL you can simply press CV to paste and then click O.K. If you have not used any other URL from the time you copied the URL assigned to your demo vlog when you were logged on to (I recommend that you copy this URL to a word document, just in case you forget what it is and use another URL in the interim.) At any rate, once you complete this step, your text will become highlighted.
Next, you can click on your picture and click again on the link to URL button. Then use the CV command to link to your video.
At this point, you can check your links by clicking on them. Publish you post and you will see a screen that tells you your blog was successfully published. If you wish to view your blog click on the view blog (refresh) link.

Blogging Issues to think about


Intellectual Property
Who Can Comment

Bloggers Nav Bar (not a good practice for school)


Some Blogging Resources

Google Directories on Blogging

I got lost in Google Directories wealth of links. Good stuff here.

Web Logs

Web Logs in Education


When I stumble across a blogging article I book mark it in

Lucie's BookMarks on Blogging

This is not organized in a particular order. When I find a blog article while surfing, I "backflip" it on this web based bookmarking site. Some are more interesting than others.

NECC 2005 Blogging Related Presentations


Educator's Guide to Blogs in (and out) of the Classroom Erica Brownstein, Capital University, Education with Robert Klein Get a holistic picture of Weblogs and their uses in K-16 classrooms. Topics include: resource guide, effective use, effects, risks/benefits, etiquette, and resources.
Enhancing Student Voices in ePortfolios through Blogging and Digital Storytelling Helen Barrett, The REFLECT Initiative
Lessons Learned: A Panel Discussion about Creating Educational Communities Online Will S. Richardson, Hunterdon Central Regional High School with Steve Burt, Anne Davis, Tom Hoffman and Tim Lauer This panel presentation will highlight the experiences (both good and bad) of three educators pioneering the use of Weblogs in their schools.

Read, Write, and Blog: Literacy in the Information Age Susim Munshi, Chicago Public Schools with Susan Switzer Thousands join the blogging revolution each week. Experience how teachers and students are using Information Age tools to transform reading and writing for all students.
Elementary Blogging: Connecting Writers and Technology through Read2Write Jeanne Kimball, Oxford Central School with Bridget Carvajal, Karen Conklin, Heather Dowd and Denise Weston Elementary teachers created the Read2Write Program by providing monthly author visits. Students were connected with authors around the United States through blogging to support writing.
Surveys and Hotlists and Blogs, Oh My! Tools for Administrators Susan Brooks-Young, SJ Brooks-Young Consulting Site and district administrators will learn how to use three online tools, leaving with three resources they can use immediately and also share with staff.

Read, Write, and Blog: Literacy in the Information Age Susim Munshi, Chicago Public Schools with Susan Switzer Thousands join the blogging revolution each week. Experience how teachers and students are using information age tools to transform reading and writing for all students.

Putting Emerging Technologies to Work in EducationThor Prichard, Clarity Innovations, Inc. with Steve Burt Explore the latest emerging technologies and learn how to apply them in education.
Effective Weblogs in Education: How to Create, Manage, and Communicate! Tim Lauer, Lewis Elementary School with Steve Burt, Anne Davis, Tom Hoffman and Will S. Richardson Find out how schools are using weblogs, practice building your own, and discuss the strategies and solutions for challenges created by their instructional use.

Create Online Portfolios Using Common Tools and Open Source Software Helen Barrett, The REFLECT Initiative Get hands-on experience with online tools to construct e-portfolios, including blogs, content management systems, and open source software. Also, review commercial e-portfolio systems available.
Superfriends: Different Faces, Different Places Learning Collaboratively on the Internet Julie Ramsay, Fultondale Elementary School with Kaleb Donaldson, Tiffany Grigsby, Amanda Johnson, Alex Johnston, Raven Scott and Karleena Unlap Diverse students from different schools model, learn, and practice the modes of writing, editing skills, online book chats, weekly blogs, and technology projects as e-pals.

Weblogs in Education: Cutting Edge Uses of This Emerging Technology Michael Lackner, The Bryn Mawr School Observe how Weblogs are being infused across the curriculum, embedded in professional development, and used to increase community, home, and school communication. Check it out!

Magnificent Monarchs: A Travel Blog to Mexico Karen Vitek, Spackenkill School District Learn how blogging was used to extend the learning of a trip to the overwintering sanctuaries of the monarch butterfly.

Workshop at Vt Fest

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