Just following up my next example of how we use Cloud Computing and project based learning in the cloud at Loreto Normanhurst.
Year 8 English :- Cinderella cloud websites
The English Faculty was completing a unit of work with Year 8 on the different interpretations of the story of Cinderella. It was decided to make greater use of learning technologies while completing this unit of work.
During preliminary discussions with ICT Integrators a number of options were discussed including the use of blogs and the making of a website. The sequential nature of blogging did not suit the nature of the task so we decided on the development of web pages. The ICT integrators were given the task of working out how to do this while the English staff worked on the English learning components of the task.
A few options were considered for the task. The creating of websites at school using Adobe CS3 Dreamweaver or SharePoint Designer was the first thought. We looked at a range of web tools to do the web pages but were worried about privacy considerations. The final products could be created at school stored on the network and perhaps uploaded to the portal. To add to this the logistics of trying to do this for 150 students became quite daunting so we turned our attention to a second option – to a range of cloud hosted website applications. We settled on Google Sites for a range of reasons.
One was the ability to activate the privacy options and another was the fact the students could work on the task at home in the boarding hose and at school. The final reason was the possibility of using the other applications in the Google Suite. We investigated the possibility of using the setting up the Educational Version of Google but time and few technical issues prevented us from doing this in the time needed for the assessment task.
The solution we came up with was to create a maze of account to get to the stage where we could produce 150 sites.
Each Google account only allows five Google websites of 100mb each. The size of the website was fine but creating enough of them with a similar naming convention proved difficult. There were six classes in the year group so we created 5-6 accounts for each class which gave us 25-30 websites, enough to cover the number of students in the classes.
All was going well until Google decided I was a”bot” creating all these random accounts. It is interesting how their layers of security work. All of a sudden I was required to give my mobile number to create the account and Google would text me a pin number to create the account.
The after five times of doing this Google would no longer accept my phone number. The students enjoyed the opportunity of bringing out their mobiles with permission from a teacher so I could get enough text messages with pin numbers to finally create the 30 odd Google accounts which in turn could created 150 + websites for the Cinderella task – which was the initial reason for doing all this work.
Once the accounts were created we had to set things up in a way which accounted for the varied skill sets for the students and the teachers who were to administer the task over a number of weeks. Initially each class was given specific instructions from ICT Integrators and teachers with expertise and understanding on how the technological side of the task would operate.
It was good fun doing it. If I did it again I would generically develop the student logons so I could empty and start the sites again the next year.