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Published on October 14th, 2014 | by Jennifer Jones


5 examples of self-hosted Digital Commonwealth school project blogs

The Digital Commonwealth project allowed for participating schools across Scotland to set up their own website, work with existing class Glow blogs/e-portfolios and/or partner websites (trainer blogs, education scotland etc) to produce and host their content. This wasn’t always straight forward, as access varied between schools, catchment areas and local authorities, but we tried to find a solution for learners to host their content in an open and public way, not just behind the digital gates of their own school. This allows for parents, friends and other participating schools across the country to be able to comment, share and learn from the experiences and stories of others. This sits within the original principles of the project to encourage those taking part to feel confident enough to develop and share public content within a safe online environment.

One of the techniques we used to host content was to give classes who did not have the facilities to create a blog was to develop a wordpress blog on our Digital Commonwealth server as a sub domain of this website. This allowed for the visiting trainer to centre the their digital commonwealth project around a core site, giving learners and teachers the chance to see their online contributions emerge online over the time spend working on the project – without having to gain existing access to school account blogs. It meant that we could give the project a certain level of autonomy from the existing activity in the school, allowing in some cases for each learner to contribute their own blog post and multimedia post.

Here are 5 examples of where you can use a simple blog framework, using a default template and existing social media platforms (youtube, audioboom & embedded tweets) to create a project blog in a schools’ context:

Inchinnan Primary, Renfrewshire

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Inchinnan primary is a small community school on the edge of Glasgow airport’s runway. They took part in 4 workshops over 3 days – 1 day before the summer holidays and 2 days after. They used their digital commonwealth project to reflect on their games experience – and used tools such as easispeaks and took part in organised photo challenges to get creative about their response to Glasgow 2014. You can check out all of their content here:

Our Lady of the Missions Primary, East Renfrewshire

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Our Lady of the Missions Primary in Giffnock took part in 4 workshops over 4 weeks at the start of term following the games. Each member of primary 7C wrote their own blog post about their games time experience, practiced interview skills using easispeaks and uploaded to audiobooms – and during video week managed to script and record an interview with local games celebrities – including Team Scotland Gymnast Amy Regan. All the content produced on their site was made by the learners – who got the chance to improve and edit their contributions over the 4 weeks before uploading collectively during the last workshop. You can check out the content here:

Rothesay Primary, Argyle and Bute

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Rothesay Primary on the Isle of Bute had 4 sessions over 4 weeks with 3 different trainers – using the theme of sport on the island to pull together their content. In the first week, learners worked as groups to develop a blog post between them about the island – each tackling a different theme. The second week, they invited local residents who were passionate about their participation in sport (from football to shinty) to be interviewed, having prepared questions in advance. The third week they produced videos about their favourite places in the school – which then got picked up by the island’s local paper The Buteman – and the final week, they learnt about social media – especially twitter – when one of their tweets from their primary school account went ‘viral’ being shared nearly 1500 times during the session. You can check out their content here:

St Athanasius Primary, South Lanarkshire

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St Athanasius Primary in Carluke worked with an existing history project around the mining community in the area called Pits, Ponies, People and Stories. They used their blog in a reflective manner, encouraging each learner to write a short piece about what they learned from their visit to local museum. Trainer Jim Gellatly then worked with them to produce a short audioboom about their experiences. You can visit their site here:

Renfrewshire Young People

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The final group was based across Renfrewshire from a mix of youth groups in the area. They took part in the Digital Commonwealth workshops during the summer on UWS’s paisley campus. Using the theme of #positivepaisley, the group learnt about video, audio and photography – creating content about the city and where they were from. The ages in the group ranged from 8-18, so it wasa very different experience to the schools based project – but it offered us the chance to work with local community groups and provide some extra-curricular learning in the process. You can check out their content here:

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