Archive for June 10, 2011

To encourage life long learning we should be using free applications for students to continue to use after they leave our tuition. Something they can continue to use and build on into the future. Today I am looking at Google Sites as an option for setting up an ePortfolio. It is great way to combine information such as RSS feeds and a place to access remotely to take notes and get feedback. With a range of privacy settings the site can be personalised to public or private, and customised to suit the users purpose. It is primarily built on a wiki platform so adding content is very easy. Sub folders and categories can easily be set up. A disadvantage is that there are no page level settings so you have to share everything or nothing

Some of the disadvantages would be that in this day, mobile friendly should be a pre-requiste but this is not good with mobiles/ If you need a lot of space this only provides a 100mb, but when you have the links to Youtube and other gadgets this might be enough.

With the Google Sites, other people can’t see these unless they have an account with Google. This can be done with other email addresses other than Gmail accounts. You can send people you want to be able to access the site a link which they can access the page through. The other way is to make it completely public for people to search the web for. If it is just for personal use you can completely close it. 

Embedded Google docs is really what this is good for. If you want to share PowerPoints then this is what you would use. Ofcourse, Mind42, Prezi’s and other online Web tools can be embedded as gadgets. Possibilities are great with this but as usual, I need time to sit down and try to work out what I would use this for.

Not too bad if you want easily accessed information for students to use.


I am sitting in a workshop with some social media guru’s. They have given us a crash course in the use of Social Media and how they use it in classes and on their own.


Announcements – reminders of due dates. New tasks with links to source

Supplimentary information – small snippets of information that they can extend their knowledge base in a particular area without making students read the articles.

Live microbloggoing – communication like what I am doing now as I am in the conference workshop taking notes. But those of you that follow me can see what is happening

Connections/PLN’s – (Siemens, 2004 – Connectivism) I am preaching to the converted. ut using hashtaggs like #edusocmedia or #elfa which is the conference hashtag you are able to build the network immediately in Twitter.

Collect real world data –  if you want to send out your students and they can Tweet the information back to a central course live. The information can then be gathered.

Twitter Polls – during Rick Von Feldt keynote he used or but they could use this instead

Back channelling communications – we have used it for conversations.

Other? – CAT’s like asking questions to see what they have understood about an area of information. It can be used to shape lessons prior as to what they understand and need clarity on. These can be Tweeted with a hashtag, the teacher can access the content that is needed.

It can be used for very short reflection of a lesson to summaries the lesson to see what they got out of it.

The shortness of the Tweet can reinforce the ideas due to its small nature.

An important factor is to archive incoming Tweets which can be done with for a specific hashtag that you develop for your class like #Visual Arts 

Also check out the Youtube channel for Facebook and Twitter to expand your understanding of privacy settings. The videos highlight changes and what you should think about changing.


It helps students stay connected as a community, both as a small group, and as part of a larger community that has common interests. I can be used to distribute news letters, assignments, events, items of interest such as exhibitions, book releases, Youtube links, etc…. These can then be commented on and you can identify interests and trends in your classes. They can also have the opportunity to contribute to this also. 

The structures of the Facebook account needs to be intelligently controlled for what you want to use.

The FB pages can be used as a very similar way that Twitter can be used the same way. The bests format that they recommend for classes is Fan Pages. This is open and shared but the barriers between teachers and students is still there. Worth trying.

I have just made the AIS Photographic and Digital Media  fan page in Facebook so I will see what happens with the students with it.