This One’s For You

Last night I saw this trailer on BBC World…

…and then my daughter told me that the Internet had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize last week.  I was away at school camp at the time and out of “the loop” so this was all news to me.

I started reading around a discovered a few articles in support of the nominations, but many seemed to think it was a ridiculous idea.

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to the person who has “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” Is it so ridiculous that the Internet receive this nomination?

There’s a Māori saying in New Zealand/Aotearoa –

‘He aha te mea nui o te ao?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata’
‘What is the most important thing in the world?
It is people, it is people , it is people.’

Isn’t that what the Internet is really about?  Isn’t that why we spend time blogging, tweeting or facebooking?  It’s the people.  It’s the people. It’s the people. It’s the global connections and dialogues sans Frontières that are just as real and valid as face to face connections that make the Internet such a powerful tool for peace.

So who is the nomination really for?  It’s for you…  and me…  and everybody else out there trying to make a difference.  Celebrate… it’s not often we get nominated!

teachernz-and-face-b

BlogDesk

At an unconference in Auckland yesterday, Jill Hammonds showed me this little blogging client that she uses with her wordpress blog. I think I’ll try it in class instead of the SRWare option I have at the moment.

BlogDesk

Update: Takes its proxy settings from internet explorer, but has no way to work with proxy servers that require authentication like schoolzone.  😦

teachernz and face

posted using BlogDesk-button

Talking the Talk

So here’s my audio-post.  I got over the fact that I don’t like to hear my recorded voice, wrote a script and read it out (most of it).  There were a few mistakes and err…umms along the way, but I just did what I tell the kids to do, “Keep going, we can edit the mistakes out later.”  I did just that!

Click to play*

This is my speaking voice; I mean this is the voice I use at school in class and with colleagues. I made a conscious effort to change and modify the way I spoke at teachers college 10 years ago. Out of school it’s a little more relaxed, but I maintain the same inflections, vocabulary and syntax. I still encounter occasional blank looks at particular phrases and sometimes I can see people ruminating, trying to decode exactly what I just said, because I used a familiar word in an unfamiliar context, but most of the time my altered English voice serves me well.

But I’m not English. I’m a Yorkshireman. I’m Yorkshire, a tyke. This is my real voice. It’s flatter and my Yorkshire accent is broader. I drop my aitches, miss out words like ‘the’ and the letter T and replace them with a glottal stop. Most vowels become short vowels, others undergo a shift, taking on other vowel sounds. Some words with a double O sound in become U and others are extended into diphthongs. Ends of words are shortened or clipped and unfamiliar dialect words may be used instead of Standard English words. Right doesn’t sound like write, Mother or mum stays much the same, but father is different, dad is not. Boys and girls are lads and lasses who like to play football on the grass and if a lad scored a goal he’d be really proud of himself. They might have brought something for their lunch, but if they haven’t brought anything they’ll have nothing to eat and will be hungry on the way home.

How many times have you heard an adult say, “I hate the sound of my own voice.” Someone (@klandmiles in Singapore) tweeted on Twitter last week, “Of course you hate the sound of your own voice, it’s in the rules.”

I wonder how children hear themselves. So do kids hate the sound of their own voice? Or do they listen and think, “Hey! That’s me!”

We expect children to want to record themselves on audio or video and many of them do, but a small percentage of them will feel as I still do…I hate the sound of my own voice. What can we do to nurture these students? How can we build their confidence and encourage them to participate and create in this way? Do they have to?

*audio recorded on a Nokia N95, three main takes and edited in Audacity

This post originally published at “At the Teacher’s Desk

Sounds Good!

Earlier this week I left a comment (which I later turned into a blogpost) on this post by @wmchamberlain and was invited, via Twitter, to be a contributor at “At the Teacher’s Desk”   As I’d already identified audio and video of myself as a personal dislike I decided that the first step in “walking the talk” would be to use an audio-post as my first contibution to the blog.

Our class blog is provided by WordPress.com and it’s been about three years since I’ve done any real work on a Blogger based blog.  Before writing and recording my audio-post I needed to find out how to embed an mp3 audio player in Blogger.  Blogger (Google) doesn’t make this easy, which is a strange omission in a blogging platform that is otherwise so media friendly.  I thought I recalled doing it previously, but wasn’t sure.

In response to a question from @jlamshed I sent this tweet-

Which was met with a couple of responses.  One from @wmchamberlain suggesting I use Vocaroo (an online recording service) and another from @winetimejs saying I should find somewhere to host the audio file and link it in the blog.

Neither of these matched exactly what I wanted.  They’d both work perfectly well, but I wanted to edit the audio in Audacity to remove any “umms” and hiccoughs I might make.  I also wanted to embed a little player into the blog rather than have a link like this- listen here.  Don’t bother clicking – it’s not a real link!

After following several pomising leads from Google I eventually found this page.  It documents several ways of adding an audio player to Blogger. I used number 1 on the page to produce this player below.

You’ll need somewhere to host your audio file (I actually uploaded mine to WordPress).  After that you need to follow the instuctions, copy and paste the player code and then paste in your mp3 file location. I’m not going to reproduce all the steps here in any detail because they’re all included here.  Just make sure you paste the code into the html view in Blogger.

The page offers other options for embedding mp3 audio in blogger, none of which I’ve tried.  I like the sound of number three, which adds code to the Blogger template so that a player appears automatically whenever you paste in an mp3 link.

One final note.  This only works with mp3 audio files.  If you have any problems you can leave questions and suggestions in the comments.  Happy recording and listening!

Using Windows Live Writer for Blogging

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Whichever blogging platform you decide to use, Windows Live Writer can be used to publish to it.

Installing is easy enough, just go to Windows Live and download the latest version.  Make sure you only select Live Writer for download, unless you want the other Live programs offered.  When installing uncheck the boxes that ask if you want to install the Microsoft toolbar or reset your homepage (of course this is up to you).

Once installed Live Writer offers a familiar interface for users, this was important in my selection of it as the blogging tool for children in class. Menus and icons are mostly self-explanatory, but if you’re not sure- hover over the item and a tooltip will identify it for you.  A sidebar contains other functions you will need, like insert, plugins, draft posts and settings.

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To set up your blog go to Tools>>Accounts… .>>Add…>>Other Blog Service…and enter your blog details, user name and password. Pick “remember my password” so you don’t have to enter it every time.
Live Writer add blog

To use Live Writer at school you will need to add the proxy details here. Once you’ve done all this you’re ready to post!

New >> New Post >> . . . add a title and away you go

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To Blog…

The next thing to consider is how to use these tools yourself and then introduce them to the class.

I started of by publishing all children’s work myself.  Usually I would say, "When you’ve finished that piece of writing I’ll publish it on the blog".

For an item brought to share with the class I’d photograph it with my phone, bluetooth the photo to my laptop and upload it to the blog (about 2 minutes work).  I’d add "story coming…" under the photo and ask children to download/print out a blog template and write their story/information into it for adding to the photo.  Then I’d type it up.  Occasionally I’d log in to wordpress and guide children through blogging(publishing) their own writing. Finally I settled on using Windows Live Writer.

Windows Live Writer

Coming soon-setting up & using Live Writer.

Inking

Ink Blog Plugin

Update – first classroom use here.