Thursday, 19 September 2013

How to insert photos / images into blogger

Inserting photos/images into your blog can be very simple or very frustrating - seems to depend on what blogger feels like on the day I sometimes think!

You can insert images on the Compose view for a new post by clicking on the photo icon. This opens a new screen with the following selections:

  • Upload: Choose the photos / images you want to upload from your computer
  • From this blog: Use a picture that you already have on this blog again.
  • From Picasa Web Albums: A Google account usually gives you access to Picasa. If you have an image uploaded to there, you can insert it into your blog this way.
  • From your phone: Your android phone or iPhone need to have instant upload enabled in their respective Google+ app (I don't usually use this)
  • From your webcam: You will be asked to give permission for blogger to access your webcam and you can take a snapshot of yourself to add to the blog post
  • From a URL: Just paste the URL address of a picture you want to insert, provided you have permission to use this!
You can upload more than one image at a time, these will be held in blogger's memory for a little bit and you can select one or more of these to insert into the blog post.

Positioning: Sometimes blogger has its own mind about where to position your photos. By clicking on any of your inserted images you can change their size (small, medium, large, x-large, original size), change their position (left, centre and right), add a caption, assign some properties (I don't tend to use this) or remove the image. It pays to have a look at your post preview as sometimes your layout will determine how large a photo you want to insert.

You are looking for something a bit easier or something fancier? How about making a piccollage of your photos on the iPad? You insert any number of photos, change size and postion any way you like, add stickers and text. This saves as an image to your Camera Roll and you can either transfer this to your laptop / computer to insert as an image or you can insert it via the blogger app (which will be covered in another post).

In a laptop you could use shape collage, a programme free to download. I have not used this much yet (e.g. I have not worked out yet if you can add text), but this is an image I just created, again displayed in Original Size:

You could also make an online slideshow of your photos, e.g. via Photopeach. Create a free account (which means all your slideshows will be public, so once again, ensure that you have permission to use all your photos!), then upload the images you want to use, add a title and captions, pick some music to go with the photos and in the end you get an embed code for your blog (click on the pen icon on the right of your slideshow). In the HTML view for your new post, paste this embed code (aka gibberish) and you have your slideshow:

Lifecycle of a butterfly on PhotoPeach

Please share your tips and tricks!

Inserting a Word doc or Google doc into blogger

Sometimes our students have spent a lot of time making their published work look just right. How can we show this on our blog, as cut and paste looses all that editing? I have played around with a number of ways:

  1. The easiest way is to take a photograph of the work and insert it as an image.
  2. When you have a document in your Google Drive, you can insert the document into your blog, but often you end up with it showing up in a small box instead of seeing the whole document. These are the steps you have to take:
  • Open your Google Doc. Click on File, then click on Publish to the web.
  • In the new box, click on Start publishing and again on Ok.
  • The next window will give you a link and an embed code to your document. You can paste the link into your post or use the embed code in the HTML part of writing your post:
Link to the document

UPDATE: Below this next section is my initial and very complicated solution to rectify the small box issue when using Chrome or Mozialla Firefox as your browser (I have not tried Safari). However, via #edchatnz on twitter last Thursday @MNatusch offered me a much simpler solution using Internet Explorer.

For me Internet Browser doesn't usually play nice when I use Google Apps. However, in this case use Internet Explorer as your browser when you compose / edit the post - you can view the finished result in any browser. The small box your document has been inserted into can be manually changed by left clicking on it and then dragging the little squares at the corner to the desired size:

Magic! Full marks to Internet Explorer on this one!!!
Below you can see my more complicated way of changing box size for use with Chrome and with Mozilla Firefox:

You can see that the document is appearing in this small little box. If you would like to change the size of the box, you need to go back into the HTML view and insert sizes. The original code will look something like: <iframe src=""></iframe>
and after inserting sizes it might look like
<iframe height="760" src="" width="660"></iframe>
Depending on the layout of your blog, you might want to play around a little with the numbers.

You can see that this is not the perfect size, but if you have followed up to this stage I am sure you can adjust the size to fit your layout
3. There are online services you can use to upload your documents to that then give you an embed code, e.g. which seem to come with the correct sizing. However, you need to check if the service you are using is not also adding advertising.

Have you come across any other ways to insert docs into blogger, I would love to hear from you!

Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

How to insert an Educreation into a blog

Educreations is a one of a number of apps for iPads that lets you record a lesson you or your students give on a whiteboard (on the iPad). Two of my teachers asked me how they could embed these into their class blogs.

When you have recorded your lesson on Educreation, you click "Done" and then "Save Lesson". This opens a new screen where you enter your lesson title and an optional description. Click "Next" and you get to choose your Audience. If you want to embed a lesson into a blog, you need to select Public here - you don't seem to be able to change this later from the iPad app. Choose the subject area next and make sure you are using the correct login and your lesson is saved.

To embed it into your blog you go to "My Lessons" on your iPad, slick on the share button (box with arrow pointing out). On each of your lessons you now get a number of icons, click on the chain link of the lesson you want to insert into your blog. If you had selected "Public" under Audience, you will get two options: Copy Lesson Link and Copy Embed Code - select the latter. You can now insert this embed code into your blog post into the HTML option of your post:

This will insert your lesson as a rectangle with the task bar visible when you hover over it with the mouse. You can highlight it and use the controls above your post to align the box.

If you need to change the Audience for one of your lessons, go to and log in with your username and password. By clicking on your name up top right, you get access to your lessons. Click on any of your lessons, select "Edit Lesson" at the top right and under "Privacy" you can change the Audience. You will now get the option to embed your educreation into a website / blog.

There are a number of similar apps out there, here you find an interesting discussion on these and their uses.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Google Sites

Some of my schools are interesting in Google Sites as a base for their students' learning in class and from home. A Google Site is a website, within the Google Suite of Apps, easy to design by everyone even without much knowledge in regards to HTML programming or website design.

Why would you use a Google Site for your class?

  • a platform for your students' learning
  • students can see what the next steps are and progress to the next task
  • to post class news and links to relevant sites
  • providing the opportunity for students and parents see your planning to improve transparency etc.

Find here my attempt to make the creation and editing of Google Sites easier for teachers.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

"GAFE - How to..." insert a video into blogger

I have been tutuuing quite a bit with blogger to answer questions from my schools about inserting or embedding content. I have decided to post my findings on here and link them to a separate page for easy reference. So when in the future one of my schools has that same question again, I can explain it but also redirect them here :-) I am looking forward to feedback of how things could be done better or easier from you as I wouldn't want to claim that I hold all the knoweldge on these topics!

Sometimes we might want to use a video to show a play, a speech, to use as a tutorial, for our reflections etc. Here is How to insert videos into blogger:
  1. Your first question always needs to be "Do I have the right to share this video with my readers?". Proceed only if the answer is yes.
  2. You might have a video on your device, you might have it in your Google Drive or on YouTube. The process for uploading them is the same, though there are different implications:
a) A video from your device shared straight into blogger will be viewable by all your readers but not (necessarily) to anyone else.
b) You can adjust settings for sharing of a video out of your Google Drive: Files in your drive can be public to anyone on the web, they can be available to people have the link for the file or they can be private to you plus people you especially invite. For each of these there are three sub-settings of view, comment or edit. If your school is using GAFE, you might have the option of sharing within your domain also.
c) A video uploaded to YouTube can be public, available to anyone with the link or private. It can be viewed outside the blog as YouTube clip.

    3.   For each of them you go through the following steps:
  • Select where within your post you want to upload a video, then click on the clapper board icon.
  • The new window gives you the option to upload a video (from your computer), to use a YouTube Video, to use one of your YouTube uploads or to upload a video via your webcam. There is also the option of using a video from your phone which I have not tried out yet.
  • Find the video you want to upload and click on select - this will insert your video into your blogpost.
So how about inserting a video on your blog for a change?

Sunday, 8 September 2013

PLN - why Twitter now plays such an important part for me

Professional Learning for me used to be limited to a few f2f workshops - if I was lucky enough to be approved to go. These were usually curriculum content related. Living and working in rural Northland of New Zealand makes interesting f2f courses few and far between, more often such courses are in Auckland which adds cost and time away - a challenge for both for your employer and your family.

About 11 years ago I enrolled myself in a postgraduate diploma in education with ACE / University of Auckland. My main rationale at the time was to get others to take me more seriously firstly (honestly!), and secondly to boost numbers so we would keep such course in Whangarei (which is still a good hour's drive from home). As I was pregnant with son no.2 (and obviously I already had a toddler at home) I intended to power through my papers while on maternity leave and emerge all competent and to-be-taken-seriously. Well, reality was that I lacked maturity and knowledge (leave alone time) to make the most of this, but I did graduate with a B (B-? can't remember now!) about 10 days before son no. 3 was born. I vowed to myself not to do this again any time soon (and I still haven't), and within the teachers' payscale an additional qualification would have made no difference anyway (at that time this was an important consideration for me!).

Almost 8 years after graduation my knowledge about and view on education, pedagogy, teaching and learning has vastly changed. It is an accumulation of discussions, readings, experiences in my various roles over the last 15 years - secondary music teacher / HOD music, parent educator for PAFT, supervisor of Playcentre sessions, liaison teacher for children at risk studying via correspondence, tech teacher at intermediate school, special education advisor with MoE. While I used the single out the liaison teacher job as the most influential on my beliefs, my current position as e-Learning Facilitator has now replaced this.

It is not so much the work itself that makes this standing out, it is the connections I have made. My PLN has been vastly enriched by connecting with other facilitators, by their willingness to share their knowledge and resources without any hesitation or without asking for anything in return. The biggest addition to my PLN has come through twitter, though.

Twitter allows you to follow any number of people and see their tweets in your feed. They will often share links to interesting reading, they will discuss topics, re-tweet what others have tweeted, ask questions  etc. I was introduced to this back in March at a Kevin Honeycutt workshop and currently follow 184 others from all around the world (and 77 people are interested or polite enough to follow what I have to tweet). A tweet is a short message of 140 characters which can include links, photos etc. It often includes a hashtag # which helps you link tweets to a particular topic together. Various groups of people might meet in twitter at a particular time and discuss a topic they previously agreed on (e.g. #edchatNZ every other Thursday night at 8:30pm). There are also initiatives like #kidschatnz run by @PalmyTeacher every Wednesday at 2pm where students discuss questions.

What makes twitter so valuable for me?
On any given day there will be dozens of tweets in my feed, some relevant straight away, others not so of course. By following people that are interested in similar things as I am, I am covering a huge range of readings and research without having to wade through them all by myself. If someone finds an article interesting or relevant, they often tweet it. I can then decide to go and have a look at it myself or not. Many of these links I email to myself so they are not getting buried in my feed but instead sit in my inbox until I get time to look at them properly.
There will be tweets sharing links to resources, usually for free.
Crowd-sourced presentations are making the rounds, tweechers are invited to add, share use (I have one started recently at about the vision for an supporting info on BYOD / 1-on-1 devices).
By connecting with twitter users overseas, I get a glance at overseas education trends which might influence what we do in NZ.

There are good resources on the www to learn about some of the intricacies of using twitter, e.g. So go ahead and give it a go (if you haven't tried it yet). As @BeLchick1 (the girl who wants to grow up to sing as beautifully as a tui) I would be happy to meet up with you and other tweechers on twitter!

Friday, 6 September 2013

Welcome Home!

I am so glad to be back home from my little escapade with wordpress. See, while wordpress looks so shiny and funky, him and I have never really 'clicked'. In my gut there was always this little uncomfortable feeling, the niggling sensation that this relationship is simply not meant to be. I told myself I would give it 6 months - it turned out to be 7 in the end - but no, I am so glad to be back in my good old comfortable slippers = back on blogger!

Much has happened since I embarked on my journey as BeLchick - the chick that hopes to one day grow up and sing as nicely as a tui (NZ bellbird). If you would like to read my occassional ramblings from the last 7 months, please feel free to visit my 'ex' here. I will eventually archive these posts (when someone gets me a 'round to it').

Feel free to hop on board and come along on the journey. Your comments are much appreciated!