Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Goodbye Posterous

The end is nigh. I was very sorry to hear the news that the blogging platform Posterous is closing down for good on April 30th.  It is by far the easiest and most versatile blogging platform I have used, and the ability to upload a post directly via Smartphone was an added bonus.

Why has Twitter bought Posterous?  What is Posterous going to do now?  Why don't such sites last longer than a few years, just when people begin to get used to a new thing, then whoosh - it disappears leaving millions of users feeling a bit abandoned and frustrated. I will miss blogging with Posterous very much indeed!

The moral of the story is "Don't put all your eggs in one basket".  Having 6 blogs on Posterous was a bit like doing this, so now I am paying the slightly incovenient price.

Read this post from Lifehacker blog about how to transfer your Posterous blogs to other blogging platforms NOW.

You can also find out how on Free Technology for Teachers blog.

I have duly backed up and then downloaded all the files from Posteorus onto my computer and have transfered my blogs to 4 different blogging platforms:,

Here is my brand new Weebly blog called Janet's Comics & Cartoons:

Weebly blog
Below you can see an archive blog of teaching materials and resources from past Lake School of English Teacher Refresher courses, which I have combined into one blog and transfered to I will not be adding to it, as it will be simply archived posts for me and teachers I taught to refer to.  The name of the blog is Janet's Teaching Resource Blog blog
The biggest headache so far has been my Project366 blog which was 2 gigabytes - full of images.  There is a size limit of what you can transfer from Posterous to other sites, and my Project366 is way over the limit!

I decided to use Blogger for my Project366 blogging platform, as I feel comfortable with using the site and it has a lot of features I like. I was able to autopost approximately 30 of my 366 posts, and then suddenly it didn't allow me to autopost anymore.  I am now manually autoposting about 20 posts a day from Posterous to Blogger, and it is a bit tedious, I have to admit. I will get there eventually.  Project 366 means a lot to me so it is worth doing this in order to retain the blog in its entirety.

My transfer of Fluffy's blog to went very smoothly. I just needed  to upload the wordpress xtml file, which Posterous kindly supplied, and then it uploaded all my posts to the new site.  The quality of the images was not the same however, so my husband kindly helped me in that area.

A New Era
Having blogs on 4 different platforms might prove to be a bit much, I will have to see how I get on. Watch this space!

My final word is I'd like to say how much I really enjoyed using Posterous over the past couple of years, and I am very sad to see it disappear into thin air, literally...

Goodbye Posterous.  Thanks for the good times....

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

EVO Digitalstorytelling4kids 2013 - SMOOC Feedback

When you fully immerse yourself into a project and time flies, you know that you are in the 'flow'.  The thing to do is to take each day and try to live it as if you know that it will have to end by nightfall.  Enjoy every moment, try everything out, be happy, have fun, make mistakes, learn from them, observe others, praise their efforts, enjoy their contributions, share as much as possible, live your life free!

I guess YOLO sums it all up. You Only Live Once, so make the most of it!

Joining in a SMOOC  (Small Open Online Course) was an exciting feeling, and I enjoyed every moment of it, especially all the interaction with the enthusiastic participants and moderators.  Attending the weekly webinars was also fun and helped to create a sense of belonging to the group.

Such times are meant to be treasured, and so writing my feedback thoughts here about the EVO Digitalstorytelling4kids session will capture those special moments. A million thanks goes to each and every one of the fabulous moderators and my fellow coursemates.  We encouraged each other, collaborated and shared many experiences, tools and incredible stories. I was very impressed by the amount of energy and passion for the subject that was palpable, even though everythinig was conducted online.

 The Digitalstorytelling portfolio of work is an excellent compilation of many wonderful ideas and creative storytelling from over 200 participants from around the globe.The portfolio is currently being exported to Blogger, due to the imminent closure of Posterous. More digitalstorytelling resources and links can be found in this very comprehensive Livebinders.

The action-packed 5-week schedule can be viewed here.

I learned about Edmodo for the first time, and was able to see how it works as an educational platform for learning and teaching online.  I would certainly like to have a go at using it with a group of students in the future.

Brainy Box
Below is a nice site called Brainy Box which sums up my feeling after this session, which has spurred me on to experiment with some interesting tools which can be used for all manners of student projects.  Marisa Constantinides one of the inspirational moderators, wrote a post explaining some of the excellent activities that could be generated by a six-sided cube with images in this post here.

Below I would like to share some of my favourite creations from the course, which inspired me to try out and review so many nice tools and resources.

Stay e-safe with an avatar was a very interesting blog post, as it offered 10 tools to explore to create an avatar, which is especially important for young learners.

Build Your Wild Self 

 This is a very simple tool to create a wild-looking persona and can be used in an educational way, to learn about different animals.


Mini Mizer



I created a short synopsis of Week 4 of the session by using below:


This tool was the perfect setting for a Valentine message I sent to the moderators and my fellow participants:

Make your own slideshow at Animoto.

Captain Scholastic

Experimenting again with Captain Scholastic Underpants was a lot of fun!

ToonDo book

Please click on the book to enlarge it in full screen. 

I have embedded it again below in a different format.  Which one do you prefer?  I couldn't decide which one was better.  I like them both!


Part of the tasks in Week 4 was to create a collaborative story in groups, using Voicethread, and this was hugely enjoyable. I would like to thank all the teachers who contributed to my story, either by text or by voice. It was very exciting to see the twists and turns of events...  I also loved contributing to several of my colleagues' stories, and their stories were very imaginative.

You can get students to imagine what happened inbetween the beginning and the end of the story.

Here is a link to a lovely feedback blogpost called Reflections, Hopes and Experiences by Faten Romdhani.  She has included her fabulous collaborative Voicethread story, which I enjoyed contributing  to very much.


Finally, the cartoon I created with ToonDoo to add to the Linoit feedback wall, sums up my feelings perfectly!

My previous posts on this session can be viewed by clicking the titles below.

Reaching for the Stars in EVO Week 3.

Photopeach Comics and Cartoons.

Shelly Terrell's American TESOL webinar on Comic Tools and Lesson Ideas is an excellent showcase of resources and tips on how to use comics and cartoons. I really recommend you view it, as you will learn a lot!!
Many thanks to Shelly for mentioning me in her presentation.  I feel very honoured :-))

Friday, 1 February 2013

Reaching for the Stars in EVO Week 3

I came across this saying the other day, and it struck me as being so positive and uplifting, that I knew I had to write it down, so here it is!!

"Always reach for the stars, because even if you don't get there, you will be out of this world."

I am following the EVO Digital Storytelling for Kids session and so far, I am having such a wonderful time.  I just love being a "student" again.  Everyone is sharing so many ideas and being supportive of each other's efforts.  It is a world I love being drawn into, and it helps me appreciate what it is like to be participating in an online course from the student's eyes and perspective.  As an online moderator myself, it is important to be able to feel this perspective, so that in the future, I can incorporate the magical ingredients it takes to make a course a successful and enjoyable one.

Collaborative group work certainly is one of the key ingredients. Having a sense of "belonging" to a community is also fundamental and at the heart of what makes a session run smoothly. Together with excellent, committed moderators who always know the right moment for when to comment and give encouragement, it all contributes to a unique moment in one's personal and professional development.

The truth is that I had planned not to do an EVO session this year, due to a lack of time to devote and immerse myself fully, but as I mentioned in the previous post, I was encouraged to join in, and the rest so they say, is history....I am so glad I am participating!!

Below is a Dvolver film I have created for one of the Week 3 tasks.  It sums up the journey I am following with so much enthusiasm.

The Lillies
Here is a simple story I created with Creaza, called The Lillies.  Can you guess what happens before the final slide?  You need to use your imagination!  Please do join in with your ideas in the Comments' box at the very bottom of the post.


Motorbike Stuff
Here's a cartoon I couldn't resist creating, using one of my own favourite images of Abruzzo for the background:

Crazy Rider created with Creaza
The cartoon shows ME doing a wheelie in Abruzzo!!

Can you guess whether the following statements are true about me or not?

  • has actually been on the back of a motorbike doing a wheelie.
  • has ridden thousands of miles on the back of a motorbike.
  • lists her favourite motorbike of all time as the Honda Goldwing 1500
  • likes flicking through motorbike magazines such as Motociclismo
  • has actually seen Valentino Rossi win a Moto GP
  • has ridden in formation with a Police Outrider for the former Queen Mother
  • has a signed Valentino Rossi original poster called "First Blood" 
  • knows what an Akrapovic exhaust sounds like
  • enjoys travelling around Abruzzo by motorbike
  • has taken training and passed her CBT (Compulsory Basic training) in the UK for riding a 125cc motorbike
Animoto Motorbike Scenes
Animoto is an excellent tool for creating short, snappy slideshows with music.  The free version allows you 30 seconds, which is a bit limiting, but is good enough to create some lovely presentations.

Below is an Animoto video called Abruzzo by Motorbike.  It shows images I took (mostly from the back of the motorbike!) on a trip around the beautiful region of Abruzzo.

Make your own slideshow at Animoto.

Answers to the True / False questions are at the bottom!

Using Comics & Cartoons to learn a language
I think learning a language by creating simple comics is an excellent idea. Can you work out what the characters are saying in Itlaian?

An Italian Dialogue created with Creaza
Mille Grazie
I would like to say a very big thank you to all the lovely moderators on the EVO Digitalstorytelling for Young Learners session and also to all my fellow EVO participants for helping to make it such an interesting and valuable learning experience for me so far.  Roll on week 4!!

Post Scriptum
All the statements about Janet and motorbikes are TRUE!!!

Can you believe it?  Sometimes I can't believe it myself, but I'm very glad I tried these things...
When I am old and wearing purple, I will look back on these heady and incredible moments, and they will help me to face the last inevitable journey....