It has been a while since I posted, probably the entirety of the first half term in fact, and it has been a busy one with getting embedded as HoD in my new school. Having just got back from Language Show Live I thought I should get back into the blogging saddle again, having seen a number of new tools and gained a number of ideas from some of the seminars, particularly by Joe Dale and Chloe Druce and Rui da Silva. So here we are again, and today I’m going to talk about Posterous, a blogging site which I have been using a great deal over the term so far. I first became aware of this through Joe Dale’s INSET that I attended last year and decided to wait until the new school year to get it off and running.
Posterous is a really easy blogging tool that has a number of advantages and useful features. Here is a quick summary of some of these key points:
1. It is free
2. Not only can you use it on your computer but you can download an app for smartphones such as the iPhone.
3. You have a variety of options for posting, including sending emails that are converted automatically to blog posts.
4. It is really easy to include a variety of media and attachments such as jpgs, audio files, powerpoints, videos etc in your post with any fiddling around.
5. You can have a variety of different pages from just one account
6. It is easy to add extra contributors and followers to your blog, empowering pupils to contribute to the blog as well.
7. the appearance is attractive and the end result is clear and interesting.
8. You can link your Posterous account with Twitter and other blogs you might have or Facebook to share your posts and information with ease.
9. You can easily embed animations, recordings, cartoons, wordles etc with ease into your Posterous space
To use Posterous, go to the webpage (http://posterous.com) and sign up for free by clicking on ‘Sign up’ in the top right hand corner of the page. When you have registered you will be asked to set up a page. The name of your page will be effectively the email address that you can send entries to, so probably pick something fairly short and snappy!
When you have got yourself up and running you will have a Homepage that looks a bit like this:
The Reader page is where you can have a look at any recent blog entries to Posterous sites that you might follow, or see your recent posts. As for the left hand side options,the Edit Profile will obviously allow you to change and edit your personal settings, the Manage Spaces section is where you can pick which of your pages to adapt or edit, or create a post from, and you can Find Friends with blogs by clicking that link.
If you click Manage Spaces you can then see your current Spaces or Pages, and edit them if needed. Here is what my current set up is:
This gives you a few stats about each of your pages, and if you click the cog wheel icon for the relevant Space then you can view posts, create new ones, edit the space settings, add new contributors or followers, create an autopost set up and customize the page.
There are a lot of blogs and pages that already deal with dealing Posterous and I’m going to link to these here before giving some ideas about how Posterous could be used, or how I use it anyway. Here are the links:
So how to make the most of Posterous and how can you get pupils reading your posts, using it themselves and improving as language learners?
I have a general department Space which I use as a publicity tool. This is the main space that I have posters off around the Department corridors and it is a public space. (ie anyone can read it). I use it to announce department events (such as the Día de Hispanidad events and the Spanish film night I have run this half term), show best examples of pupils work (there are some Year 10 fotobabble creations, Year 13 videos relating to Natural Disasters and shortly there will be some Domo Animate animations, again from the Year 10), and publish things of general interest, such as a Spanish Website of the Week (which I must get more regular about!).
I then have yeargroup blogs. I use it as a reference point first and foremost, for example posting links relating to things we are doing in class (this will include YouTube clips, sites to practise interactively vocabulary or grammar, or various other webpages related to the topic). The allows consolidation and extra reading opportunites. I also have run competitions through the site and got pupils commenting on school events such as House Competitions and news articles. Pupils contributing gain merits (our school has a lot of rewarding possibilities) which gives them even more reason to contribute regularly. Pupils are getting more regular in their contributions and comments and I hope some will start posting independently and ‘lead’ the blog to some extent. Given the ease of posting and the predominance of smartphones, I hope this will happen more as the year goes on once they realise how easy it is to use.
Pupils are enjoying seeing their own work and that of their companions and this means they put a little bit more extra effort into their work. Rewards for contributions are also helping and gradually the Space is gaining more and more hits. I will probably start setting Posterous homework soon, asking for a multimedia based entry, perhaps with a video, audio and other links based on an upcoming topic.
All in all, Posterous’ ease of use and accessibility makes it an excellent blog option for you, your department and your classes.