WordPress and Free Software

The Bonus Bit

Following our session yesterday, I was reminded of a facility with some other blogging features which allows ‘Blogging by email’. WordPress.com supports that.

This blog post is an example.

This page http://en.support.wordpress.com/post-by-email/ shows you how to do it


WordPress and Free Software Session

Part 2 – The Free Software Bit

I intended to run through some of the free software and ideas I’d picked up at the Microsoft Boot Camp and from one of the delegates from the Google Teacher Academy. It didn’t quite work out that way.

During the Microsoft Boot Camp, we were reminded of some of the free stuff available when you become a member of the Partners in Learning Network. I’ve subscribed to it now for over a year and in my experience have received very few follow on emails (maybe one a month)


We looked at this during our session, and I’ve covered it in some detail in a previous blog post – Initially here with add on notes here and here

Read more of this post

WordPress and Free Software Session

Part 1 – The WordPress Bit

We had a great session today looking through some features from WordPress.com and free utilities and ideas from Google and from Microsoft. To round off a very useful session we got a dormant twitter user up and running 🙂

Here are the links and notes from the session. (Some of these are elsewhere on my blog, and some go out to other web sites).

Blogging in school?

Make sure you check this box – someone needs to be in charge of comments. On the dashboard, select settings, discussions and tick this box-


Want your blog to look like a web site?

For your blog to have a ‘static’ front page, and still be able to your blog posts, make a new PAGE called Posts then select this option in dashboard –> settings –>reading


I don’t want search engines to find my blog

Dashboard –> settings-> privacy


Use the second option and simply give your blog address to people. if you use the third option remember that you’ll have to define the users to WordPress (may take a bit of effort).

How do I get that Tweet button on the blog post

The new sharing option appears to have replaced this (in the time between showing it today and writing this blog!).


In the dashboard below the settings menu there’s a whole tab called sharing. Please could someone look a this post and tweet it!

The All Year Round Celebration

Keep Christmas in when?

It’s official – the world has gone mad.

I saw this at the bottom of a blog post today – July 30th

Who do we blame- Google or Amazon?

Christmas at Amazon

Google and Microsoft share the stage

Google and Microsoft at CAS
I was lucky enough to be along at the Computing at Schools Teacher Forum at Birmingham University on Friday.

Amongst the fantastic workshops and presentations, Andrew Herbert from Microsoft Research and Peter Dickman from Google were superb and ran a great Q and A session.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 They were followed by a very jet lagged Matthew MacLaurin from Microsoft Research who not only showed us Kodu in the main hall, he also ran 3 brilliant workshops (then presumably went for a well needed lie down somewhere).
Kodu is amazing and I’ll be covering it soon on my blog.

Fantastic Google Resource

On his fantastic blog Richard Byrne has produced a fabulous booklet showing great ideas with Google. The online booklet uses a viewing system that caused me a few problems, but here it is as a pdf – google for teachers

He shows many ideas – including mind mapping with Google – like so

Clicking on NASA gives ..

The wonder of the wonder wheel

Data Handling and Google Maps

Part 2 – The Hard Bit (Handling the Data)

In part 1 I very deliberately glossed over the work required to make sense of the data presented by the Google App and how it worked inside Excel.       

The value for handling the data from this app depends on the age group and ICT expectations of your pupils.       

If you’re looking at this as a GCSE IT project, then ask your pupils to code the sheet with a VB macro and please can I have a copy?       

If – more likely – you’re looking at this and saying ‘I don’t care how awkward the data is that you start with – please give it to me so I can easily use in a spreadsheet and make a graph without too much effort’ – then read on.       

What you should have at the end of this post is a working spreadsheet you can use again and again and (hopefully) an understanding of some of the powerful string manipulation tools in Excel. I’m using 2007 but I think most of the ideas shown work in Excel 2003 and probably OpenOffice.   

Read more of this post

Which is best – Google Maps or BING?

Or sit on the fence and use both? 

Here’s the scenario –  You’ve persuaded your daughter that yes – she can run a half marathon, and yes she can run the Rainbows Hospice Equinox* run in 7 weeks from now. You’ve even gone out for a 10.5 mile local run with her on a Sunday morning. 

So, how do you answer the question ‘How does that run compare with the actual run?’ That should be quite easy until you see the route notes supplied include descriptions like the following 

We’ll turn left out of the farm drive… up the dirt track and over Gravel Hill… might spot a trig point… turn left down a narrow lane… 

Read more of this post

Geography Maths and ICT

I was looking at some of Tom Barrett’s work recently and came across the amazing add ons available with Google Maps – once you’ve signed in to a free googlemail account. I enjoy tough walking – the panorama at the top of this screen is from Merrick in Galloway. Here’s the profile using a Google Gadget

Merrick Metric

Here’s a slightly tougher walk .. the Yorkshire 3 Peaks .. 

Yorkshire 3 Peaks Imperial

Note that the Merrick walk looks much gentler because of the change of units.. 

I have made a video showing how to do this, but I need to edit it and audio it which may take me a short while. If you’d like a link to the silent video (and decipher it yourself!) please let me know.

Now – let’s try something really effective and add a BING OS map of the area ..

I can only seem to make BING 3D generate a pleasant walk in the hills!