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Writing The Future

September 2, 2009

I’m just back to school after two fantastic days as the guest of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) at the Stirling Management Centre. I was, of course, singing for my supper by giving a presentation on some of the work our pupils have been doing with wikis and I promised the participants that I’d post the links so…

smc.pngWhen I was first approached to be the guest speaker for the SQA Scottish Survey of Writing Recall Days, I was both honoured and delighted to be given the opportunity to show off some of the work being done at Perth Academy. Although I have had the opportunity to talk about how we are using wikis in the English department in the past, this was rather special because it gave me the opportunity to speak to a group of my peers… primary and secondary teachers of English. I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed being in the company of people who are all interested in the teaching of English, and it was a reminder of why I took a degree in the subject in the first place.

I’m planning on recording the session when I deliver it at the final recall day in Inverness next Tuesday. All going well, I’ll get an audio/slideshow up as soon as possible after that.

As well as the links included in the slides (embedded below) I also threw out a number of other links that I have found useful and that other teachers might also be able to use with their classes so, as promised, here they are… and please leave a comment if I’ve forgotten any!

Glogster: This is the ‘poster’ site that I mentioned, but it is so much more. You can embed video, sound, photos, text, and lots of other tools in your poster. Even better, you can embed the finished poster in a wiki. The education version also allows you to create your own class lists complete with IDs and passwords for complete control.

english wordle2.pngWordle: This is the fantastic word cloud creator. Paste any text into the site, hit create and wait for the magic to happen! The only down side is that it can sometimes have problems running in school because of antiquated browsers and out of date java plugins.

Etherpad: This is the online text editor I mentioned that allows lots of people to edit the same text at the same time… you’ll either love this for a bit of whole class communal writing, or it’ll drive you up the wall! This is the free online mind-mapper that we used to link the caves in the Caves of Mull.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 2, 2009 9:33 pm

    Just a quick mention of this Glog: Itzak Stern. Highly recommended for simplicity and impact!

  2. Gordon Brown permalink
    September 3, 2009 10:11 pm

    Hi Neil,
    I really enjoyed your presentationand working with you, and I know that everyone else did on the day I was there. It was heartening to note that you met with absolutely no cynicism, no cries of ‘that’s all very well for you’, and no ‘what’s this got to do with real writing?’ Maybe things really are changing!

  3. September 4, 2009 8:13 pm

    Thanks Gordon,
    Actually, I think you’ve put your finger on something really important. When I started using wikis, I was met with incredulous looks and the usual cynical outpourings, but I have seen more and more people find a use for them, and more importantly, value in their use.

    This change from cynicism, to acceptance, to enthusiasm has been most heartening… and is echoed by Wil Richardson in his latest blog post: Opening Days. Worth a read, as ever with Will!

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