Sustainable computing

We can do better. We are busy, time poor and run ragged at times but we can do better with our energy use and technology purchases. It’s thinking about it which creates the change and then mapping out a plan which will work, won’t confuse anyone and will make a difference. We can recycle a lot of technology now. E-Waste recyclers are not easy to find , though, necessarily, and are sometimes open for short amounts of time. My e-waste has now made it to organised groups of waste in my garage. I can now recycle in peace because it is all in one spot. I have just replaced one of my monitors with a new (secondhand) more energy efficient one. I had the money to do it so I looked for one at a price I could afford. We can’t just throw things out and replace them. Technology does not come cheaply but it is a case of looking around on the Net and finding the bargains and thinking about how energy efficient and recyclable the new purchase will be. Upgrading is a good option because it is cheaper than buying new and can be done in stages. You need to know someone who can upgrade or learn how to do some of the things yourself.  Yawarra has some good and workable tips as to how you can easily go about rethinking your computing so it is more sustainable. Deborah Howell the associate director of IT facilities at Cornell University has made a slideshow pdf available so that organisations can look at how Cornell goes about sustainable computing. I explained how I made my blogs carbon neutral quite a while ago.  We are doing better to create green technology so we need to keep  doing our bit to make computing and personal technology more sustainable.

Grow social media

Growing social media sites isn’t really hard. You don’t have to be a business or an entrepreneur to build your online social media image.  There is a knack to it , though. It is important to be yourself, or at least, a genuine part of yourself. You are projecting an image so it’s a case of deciding which part of you you wish to project. There are also images which always work. Yes, the adorable kittens and puppies, but also images and videos which strike a chord in humanity or which make people see things quite differently. When you are on social media sites then the social is important. It is also important to connect your social media sites to a blog /blogs/ Facebook page. A lot of people now have a public Facebook page which is not their original /personal Facebook page. That seems to be working well. When you make a blogpost you can advertise it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat/Pinterest. Some people also email content too. Social media and blogging can be part of creating a very solid online presence and image. I don’t connect my own Facebook page to anything else and am currently thinking about whether to make a public Facebook page. So what are my tips?

  1. Be friendly
  2. Make positive and genuine comments
  3. Follow a variety of people
  4. Make sure your images are clear (400 x 400    pixels approx)
  5. Work methodically on the image you want to project
  6. Get the right hashtags and notice what is current popular hashtag format
  7. Post regularly
  8. Link your sites to a blog
  9. Look carefully at what you like and you react to and use those ideas
  10. Be helpful

Helene inbetween has some detailed and very helpful ideas for building social media sites.

The future of education

The future of education is in the hands of teachers like John Spencer:

My goal is simple.
I want to make something every day.

In the past it’s meant student-led documentaries, murals, and coding projects. It’s meant building a blogging platform or writing a children’s book. And as a dad, it’s meant making pillow forts.

Some days I make things.
Other days I make a difference.
But on my best days, I get to do both.

I have a crazy idea that all people are creative and that schools should be a bastion of creativity and wonder and so here’s where I experiment and make things and share my ideas on life, learning, and the creative journey.”

John Spencer YouTube Channel

By having personal goals which develop his own education, by sharing those goals and ideas and gathering feedback he has become a dynamic force as a teacher and educator. He has developed a lot of his ideas through blogging but has since branched out into his YouTube channel . You can read the interview with him about Inside Education Blogging on TeachHub.

His video makes the point in his video that the future of education is in your classroom and that you have everything you need right there. Couldn’t agree with him more. The classroom partnerships in education and learning/teaching are what drive unpacking potential, innovation and creativity. An enthusiastic teacher sows seeds and develops curiosity. All of that needs to be based on something, though, and curriculum needs to be well thought out and considered. The cry from many teachers is that they want time to explore the ideas and innovations coming out in class. There would be others who would not want to be with thirty students, thirty devices and no clear plan. All of this needs to be discussed. These days if students do not see the value in learning they just avoid it and pay the price down the track. Others bypass it and use the online materials and avenues to develop their ideas and learning. John Spencer knows a lot about technology and he knows a lot because he has made a commitment to making things and making a difference. That kind of make up in a personality will engage others because they can. They are not short of hooks , ideas and knowledge.

Is WordPress or Blogger better for SEO?

Good question , actually. I have always taught my students WordPress and how to use WordPress. It has made them think. It has forced them to learn how to put a blog together and it has given them a wealth of templates to choose from and customisations they can play with if they want to. Those were senior students, though. With younger ones I think I might have used Blogger and created group blogs or just one class blog. If it were just a class blog then I  could just as easily have used WordPress.  WordPress does take time to learn. Blogger is just there but you have to select the template carefully so that it looks good. I currently use Blogger and WordPress. I had shifted all my blogs onto WordPress but had left my first ever blog on Blogger until the traffic shifted over. It is a successful blog. The last post, which is highly visible, says I have moved and gives the new web address and yet, my old version is getting more traffic than my new one. My new one is advertised on Twitter. My original version has no promotion or social media connections. This is odd. Normally the SEO comes strongly from social media connections as part of the mix. So I am leaving my old blog on Blogger because this is intriguing. I have started a new blog on Blogger because I want to test it out to see how it goes. So far it is going well but I need to get it solidly established. I could then move it to WordPress. Blogger and WordPress play nicely together. What? And risk killing it? Like my original blog? I need to establish whether moving is a problem for successful blogs. My other blog which was not so successful on Blogger is going far better on WordPress. Do different blogging sites help the SEO of particular categories of content? Normally for SEO you are looking at:

1. Keywords like raspberry macarons, agile thinking, social media, atomic energy, search engine optimisation
2. Social media connections – you promote your blog content and posts in social media contexts to build a network and links
3. Tagging – you tag your posts so they are categorised. My year 10s last year turned this into an art form. They would come up with the most amazing tags because they were the tagging generation. It was a linguistic and aesthetic exercise for them . Tagging is important. Search engines need to know where to find your information
4. Image text – you need to fill in an alt text for the image and you need to say at least a sentence with a video or image so the search engines know what it is. The spiders which crawl over the net see text not images. I’ve used a web crawler. It’s surreal!
5. Content – It’s king. If you have what people are looking for they will come to your blog whether it’s on Blogger or WordPress.

WordPress can make SEO and connections easier because you can link the social media things very easily and you can add the twitter widget. It also has the reader where you get to see other blog posts and other people get to see yours too. The networking support is there for Blogger but doesn’t work as intuitively.
If you want to know more about SEO then Whiteboard Fridays can be very helpful.

Upgrade your blog template

Samsung phone image

Samsung 5 Phone

Blog upgradeBefore you upgrade , go to WP-Admin for your blog on WordPress and to the Tools which is the spanner icon 3rd up from the bottom. Select Export and download your xml file. That preserves your blog as it is.  Do that in any case because it is the back up for your blog. All my upgrades so far have gone well except one so the last one is not going to happen yet. The one which has been difficult has been glitchy and odd. Every other one has been straight forward. I am now reconstructing the tetchy blog and am just about here. If I click on customisations it is becoming jumpy and silly. Patience is a virtue. I am getting there , though. Some blog templates put everything at the bottom because it means they run faster on a tablet or smartphone. Classic mobile you-do-not-need-to know thinking. Mobile technology strips things down and so you are not getting the full experience necessarily of a website as you would on a computer. If you know that, you know what you don’t easily have access to. If you do not know that then we are back to the WYSIATI thinking and it can be limiting. I am trying to build blogs which have good information and then good links out but I also want them to run efficiently. Getting the new templates has really improved mobile performance and that was my main aim.  On a tablet this blog runs without the sidebars and all of that information is right at the bottom after you have scrolled down. On my phone it is more like a burner feed and just shows the text. This blog , though , is now running very fast and effectively on mobile devices and I am now happy the new look. Basically it takes a little bit of time and tinkering.

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