Phew! Well, it took two whole lessons to get right, but such is life.
My Year 8s spent half a lesson using the rubber stamp and lasso tools in Fireworks to create ‘Spot the Difference’ pictures. The plan was to spend half a lesson uploading them to the class blog for all the world to see. I’d spent quite a bit of time getting the permissions right on the blog to make sure the kids had access to the files area and had thought everything should be fine. Hmmm.
First of all, the file size limit was too small, so I opened it up.
Secondly, the files were still too big as we had saved the edited versions as PNG files. So do I stop and have a lengthy discussion on the pros and cons of file sizes or rush through a quick export in order to get it done? Well, as I’m being observed I go for the latter in order to reach my objective.
Thirdly I find we can’t upload files with spaces or punctuation in the filename – which is about two thirds of them, so we have to fix that.
Fourthly the software is set up to allow one directory per blog rather than per student, so we need to get them to create their own folder within the files section – using their first name for example.
Three of them are called Michael. At this point I’ve managed to create a nice head-sized dent in the wall.
Brilliant! We’re all uploaded. Now simply write a post and use the ‘Files’ button to add the images in. Except that this opens a new window which doesn’t automagically close once you’ve added the files. And so, Year 8 pupils being Year 8 pupils, they simply click the ‘Add’ button until it realises what they mean and does it right, resulting in half a dozen entries consisting of 24 copies of an image set to 1280×960. Then the bell went.
The next lesson we started from the point where we had done the image editing. I talked a lot about file types, the export process (people kept complaining that when they exported their PNG as a JPG they still had a PNG file on their desktop. Aaarrgghh!!), the upload process, the adding of images to the blog post and the structure of a blog entry (Introduction, Description, Discussion – the last part always being the most difficult to tease out).
So a partial success and a lot of lessons learned. I don’t think blogs are cutting edge, although their use in lessons still is to a large degree – especially in secondary schools where lessons are shorter, classes change more frequently, etc. I certainly feel like I’m on the forefront, but maybe that’s just me!