The UK Education Blog Awards 2012 are open!

Great news! The UK Education Blog Awards have just opened! Check them out here.

However, before you go, here’s the bit I should say first.

Thank you so much to:

  • the team at Primary Blogger (Ed and John) for helping set this up.
  • to the judges, Tim Rylands, Ollie Bray, Margaret Vass, Peter Ford and Tim Major
  • to the sponsors, Child Education and Primary Blogger

That is all – go nominate and vote!

Think positive on Feb29th and everyday

There has been a lot of negative press about teachers lately. From the press, but also from government, Ofsted,  unions and others.  This post will not contribute to that negativity in any way, indeed I hope this is seen as an antidote.

To start – think of the amazing things that you do every day in the classroom and the effect that is having on your pupils. Then look at other teachers in  your school and see what they are doing – are they making a difference? Chances are you won’t have to look that hard.

Three things off the top of my head:

  1. I have been lucky enough to help David Mitchell out today in moderating some posts on the Feb29th website. It is one of the most amazing things that I have seen.  At one point, there were posts going up at the rate of one every one-and-a-half seconds.  The work that David and Peter have put into making the Feb29th project work is incredible, and the results are simply stunning.
  2. How about Ian Addison’s  Under Ten Minutes website? A fab tool for CPD with some great tools explained by teachers for teachers.
  3. The 100 Word Challenge is one of the most innovative and inspiring writing projects I have seen – really inspiring pupils to write

So, my challenge to you… as there is news out there about teaching that it isn’t all negative, think of something positive to say about teaching and the impact that YOU are having in school.  Now, go to the  Feb29th site and write down what they are 🙂

Blogging Platforms

I was asked earlier to advise on blogging platforms… I answered as follows. If you agree / disagree please let me know!!

I have a few and have used a lot of different platforms…

Blogger
I write a blog for booksellers in blogger, which is very basic, but reasonably easy to use (the platform, not the blog, well actually, both). The problem I have with it is that every time you want to do something slightly different from the norm in Blogger you find you can’t do it, or you need expert html knowledge. I know that there have been some advances of late, but of them all, I’d say this is my least favourite blogging platform.

Posterous

chrisrat.posterous.com
classpet.posterous.com
I started properly on Posterous which is superb, really easy to post stuff to, although limited in themes and plugins are almost non-existent. You can email in your post with an image/video/audio attachment and it sorts it for you. Great for a first blog, and for community blogging, but not advanced stuff really. Has been known to have a bit of down time, but nothing massive.

Tumblr

chrisrat.tumblr.com
I use Tumblr just for pictures and videos – incredibly easy to set up, and use. I post from an app on my phone, which Posterous, Tumblr and WordPress also have (blogger maybe also, but I’ve never looked). Very similar to Posterous in look and feel.

WordPress

chrisrat.com
educationblogawards.org

WordPress is the ultimate blogging platform (in my opinion!). It has millions of themes to choose from, unlimited plugins that allow you to have tag clouds, custom menus, voting etc. It is completely open source, so free.

Both of these blogs and are self-hosted. This means you don’t necessarily know it is on WordPress. The Education Blog Awards looks and feels like a website (as does another site I put together, also built on WordPress). The self-hosting is reasonably cheap, and the domain name is as expensive as you want it to be. If you don’t want to self-host, you can use WordPress.com which hosts it for you, but you get a URL that looks like this http://educationsales.wordpress.com/ (if you can see the content of this, then let me know, as you shouldn’t be able to!) The other downside is that you don’t get the added functionality that a self-hosted blog gives you.

One other option if you are a school is to use Primary Blogger, which is based on the WordPress platform and is also free.  It has built in spam filtering and SEO optimization and you get the same ability as with the normal WordPress to post from your mobile.   Over 1500 primary schools use it, and it costs absolutely nothing!

There are a few other blogging platforms, such as TypePad (paid for), Moveable Type (free), Squarespace (paid for), Textpattern (free, but low support).

What blogging platform do you use, and why?