Just spent the last couple of hours adding the finishing touches to our school's Christmas Pages and resource share space. Last year we also had a set of Christmas Pages on our website, but it in its format at the time the site was only a couple of months old. By this time last year our visitor count was around 1000, but since then has risen to over 25000 hits. I am hoping that the addition of these pages will draw not only our students to visit with their parents, but a host of other visitors from around the world, as we set out to send our "greetings to the World," and work to develop our image as a "Global School."
Our "greetings to the World," are developing slowly, but some of the students have begun to Use Think.com as a community space, practicing their email, internet and emerging web 2.o skills, to create Christmas pages of their own. The idea being that they will either, download images from the web, or create their own, uploading these to their Think spaces, adding a wish or greeting for the world, before sending a message to me that it is ready for inclusion in the school website. Adding to the website is a matter of download, copy and paste or insert using my choice of Web Development tool Ms FrontPage.
Some students have begun to expand on this remembering the pages we had on display last year, sending Christmas Funnies, or simple poems they have developed, and these too will be added to the space to celebrate their independent achievements.
Within the pages I have included links to some of the Websites I have used to support ICT activity in the classroom, these links are generally cross curricular in nature, but include things such as clipart site, links to pages about Christmas traditions around the world, and favourite site used by me with students from KS 1 last year, the iBoard online activities pages. There are also a number of resources and tools developed, for use with students, and some links to sections of the school website, describing and displaying student ICT outcomes around Christmas themes.
This year I am also interested in how we might begin to use the space to encourage colleagues to have a go at using Podium to develop simple podcasts, though time is short, and space to share this with colleagues limited I am convinced that the simplicity of the tool will enable colleagues to see how quickly they can prepare and develop a performance piece for publication. One idea I have shared is the notion of students performing their sections of the school performance, in class with these being recorded for upload. Another idea which has had mixed reaction is the idea of students creating a thought for the day type program, that could be developed during Guided Reading sessions, based on either reading from an available text or performance of something they have written and prepared. I have also proposed that if colleagues are unsure about the tool, if students rehearse and refine their performances, recording could be done using laptops during student Golden Time, and that I would be happy to work with small groups during this time. I would also be interested to see the quality of output from this tool, if we try to record students singing Christmas Carols and songs in real time, but this is an experiment for later.