Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tumblr Dashboard and Archive in the Classroom

I have posted before about how we use Tumblr in the senior classroom. Tumblr updated their dashboard last month and this microblogging tool has also been getting a bit of coverage on different twitter PLN's lately so I thought it might be worthwhile to revisit this tool. The new dashboard makes it easy to manage multiple blogs and to post quickly and easily. The best feature is the ability the upload a multitude of file types. Here is how we have used it previously;
Previously Post: This is a blog site that my seniors put me onto. I personally prefer Blogger but my students are happier with Tumblr. We are currently using it as a virtual Visual Arts Process Diary. I know some people will sneer at this, but it is the only way that we can get boys to really reflect on images, artworks and their own process. I have got more from my current Yr 11s in the last 5 weeks than I got from my Yr 12s all year.
The students seems to enjoy the fact that we are using blogging tools as opposed to pencil and paper. They are still drawing but are now photographing their work and then posting it along with reflections on their tumblr. They are all following each other and are starting to comment on each other ideas and work - offering suggestion, other websites, artists and resources that they think would be of assistance.
My students showed me another feature today that I was really impressed with. It is the archive function in some of the themes. It allows you to visually scan all posts and then to select the ones that you wish to investigate further.

Because we use them as Visual Arts Process Diaries in Art this feature makes it very easy for teachers to scan posts quickly to ensure that all students are posting and reflecting on their processes to the level of detail that is required at a senior level.

Our Visual Arts Process Dairies need to document all aspects of the creative process from idea formation, to media experiments, including details of the finished artworks right through to actual construction of mounts and frames. This is an easy process if the students photographically record each step on a regular basis. Many just use their laptop camera to do this each lesson.

Here is an example of the Archive feature. I hope this illustrates my point. This student reflected comprehensively and although you do not get to read the whole entry it quickly becomes apparent when he has failed to post. This facility also gives you an impression of how extensive his Visual Diary will be when we are ready to use Blog Booker to print out his blog in book format.

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