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.

Change your blog template

E-WOTIt’s a 2D connected world in cyberspace. Icons and embellishments have become flat and simple as we have moved on. I discussed that when Instagram changed its iconic logo. We want fast, we want simple, we want to use phones and tablets so graphics and user interfaces have been rolled back to simple and flat. I have been meaning to update my blog template for a while now because I can see how it has slowed down on a tablet. I always check my blogs on tablets and phones to see how they are performing in a mobile set up. The newer templates are designed for the flat world and so will run more efficiently on mobile devices. Over the next couple of weeks I shall tinker with this template. I miss my old template already but life goes on and you have to ensure that your blogs are running effectively across all devices.  Oddly enough I upgraded the template on another blog to which I don’t post because I have a new version of it on another platform and after the upgrade the old, original blog was pulling in more traffic than the new one and yet, in content, they are identical. Some things cannot be explained in cyberworld but template upgrades are important to ensure you have the best access to the newer design efficiencies.

Tablets in the classroom

The Pedagogy Podcast

Image: The Pedagogy Podcast 

Teachers are not the media stereo type, vacuous nincompoops with 50s hairdos in front of perfectly groomed, smiling students with their hands up as they teach from the board often with their arms folded or a weirdo lean. Teachers, in my experience , are real people with a wide variety of exceptional talents and competencies who hone in on detail. They are like Patrick Trowse (@wklifebalance) whom I got to know in the #aussieED teacher chats on a Sunday night. Teachers are sociable and they want to learn. Over a year ago Patrick started his blog wklifebalance and I just pointed him in the right direction. The blog is valuable because he looks at the sorts of things which affect the work – life balance of teachers, how to stay healthy and how to manage a very demanding, rigorous job. Since then he has grown and developed himself into a podcaster and his podcasts are well made, interesting and about the sorts of things which teachers need to know and manage. You cannot replace experience. You cannot beat information from someone who has been through the process and you cannot do without podcasts! I load up a USB stick with all sorts of podcasts. They help me to keep my other language skills up, they teach me about health and ecology and they provide things to think about and practical ideas for education.I play them in my car as I commute. Patrick’s podcast on tablets in a classroom, where he speaks with a technician, is invaluable because it covers the issues The podcasts on The Pedagogy Podcasts are then reinforced with written information to check and consider. That is a teacher. A teacher knows you have to provide information in multiple modes so everyone can learn.

You can tick the boxes on the Professional Standards for Patrick as he develops himself, collaborates with others and shares his knowledge:

1.1 Lead colleagues to select and develop teaching strategies to improve student learning using knowledge of the physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students.
1.3 Evaluate and revise school learning and teaching programs, using expert and community knowledge and experience, to meet the needs of students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.
2.1 Lead initiatives within the school to evaluate and improve knowledge of content and teaching strategies and demonstrate exemplary teaching of subjects using effective, research-based learning and teaching programs.
2.2 Lead initiatives that utilise comprehensive content knowledge to improve the selection and sequencing of content into coherently organised learning and teaching programs.
2.6 Lead and support colleagues within the school to select and use ICT with effective teaching strategies to expand learning opportunities and content knowledge for all students.
3.1 Demonstrate exemplary practice and high expectations and lead colleagues to encourage students to pursue challenging goals in all aspects of their education.
3.3 Work with colleagues to review, modify and expand their repertoire of teaching strategies to enable students to use knowledge, skills, problem solving and critical and creative thinking.
3.4 Model exemplary skills and lead colleagues in selecting, creating and evaluating resources, including ICT, for application by teachers within or beyond the school.
4.2 Initiate strategies and lead colleagues to implement effective classroom management and promote student responsibility for learning.
4.5 Review or implement new policies and strategies to ensure the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.
6.3 Implement professional dialogue within the school or professional learning network(s) that is informed by feedback, analysis of current research and practice to improve the educational outcomes of students.
6.4 Advocate, participate in and lead strategies to support high-quality professional learning opportunities for colleagues that focus on improved student learning.
7.4 Take a leadership role in professional and community networks and support the involvement of colleagues in external learning opportunities.

In 2016 the Professional Standards are supporting and encouraging teachers to develop and share their skills. In 2016 a contemporary teacher can use technology to improve themselves, improve others and engage with the real world in a way which benefits others and impacts on student learning in an effective way. It is all based on sharing and collaboration. Creating the content, joining the dots and getting feedback.

Shifting my blog from Blogger to WordPress.com

up an atomI blogged the other day about how I had moved my smaller blog from Blogger to WordPress.com. I have since moved the really big blog and was expecting to have to troubleshoot, but no, Blogger and WordPress work very effectively together. I have had to play around with templates for the newly moved blogs to get the ones which suit them. That has been fun more than anything. I have had to install my Twitter feeds through the widgets and have generally had nothing more than cosmetic stuff to do. The labels on Blogger came over as categories which is a bit awkward because there are so many of them. I am sorting them very slowly and have thought that well, I shall just have to live with that for now and make it a work in progress. It’s not such a bad thing. The worst thing for me is the new templates do not have a widget for the meta data which my other 3 blogs on WordPress do have. It means I cannot log in from the front page of the blogs like I do on my other blogs. I either log in from another blog or straight from the WordPress site. It is not the worst thing in the world but it is annoying. I’d like to think the new templates could offer the meta data widget like my other blogs. There does not appear to be an easy fix for this so I am looking upon it as a challenge. The whole process has been pretty easy and very smooth and I really do appreciate that Blogger and WordPress can co operate so well. I have deleted the smaller one of my Blogger blogs but even with that there is an option to undelete. This is a cyberworld which is supporting me and working with me. The big blog is remaining for a while with a redirect link until the traffic shifts over to the new site.

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