The purpose of this BlogFest is to give participants some practical experience in being part of a blogging community. It will hopefully be a community in which we can learn from each other and bounce ideas off each other.

Twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays) from January 4 - 22 you will be set a task. Each task will be described in a new post on this blog.

Once you have written a post on your blog that complies with the task, then you will tell us where to go to see your blog post.

Part of every task is visit the blogs of other participants and leave a comment.

Friday, January 29, 2010

BlogFest Task #6

Well work seems to have got in the way big time this week.

Task #6 is a reflective one.

Here are some questions for you to address in a blog post.
Please don't feel you have to address them all, and modify the questions if it suits you..
  1. What are the most important things you got out of this BlogFest?
  2. Do you think the task based approach works? What sort of tasks are best?
    Are there some other tasks we could have set?
  3. Everybody's input tailed off
    - what caused this in your case?
    - if this happened in an online group you were mentoring, how would you handle it?
  4. Will you continue blogging? If so, why? If not, why not?
When you have written your post, come back here and add the URL to Mr Linky, and then of course have a look at what others have said.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Delay to task #6

It seems that work has got in the way for many and you haven't yet managed to get around to task #5.

So I will delay task #6 until Wednesday next week (27 Jan)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Task #5: Give your visitors something to do

Some people say "I created my blog but nobody came".

I am a strong believer in giving people something to do when they come to your blog.

Some will come just to read what you have to say, but reading a blog post can be a pretty quick thing to do, and the visitor is off to their next port of call within a minute or two.

However if you give them something to do they will stay longer, and perhaps even engage in that conversation I keep talking about.

Here are some suggestions.
  • Ask a big question - in your post be deliberately provocative so that they will be dying to comment, solve your problem, or suggest some sites for you to visit. In a later post, base what you say on the recommendations, new sites etc.
  • Follow a theme through. Explore an idea in one post, and then follow it up in the next couple of posts with more research etc. Check what I did on my blog with Skype in the Classroom. Invite readers to add to your knowledge.
  • Run a game (like the spaceship one on Cecily's embedding post - I played that 3 times)
  • Run a poll. Pose the question for the poll in your post and then create the poll either using the tool provided in the platform you are using (Blogger has quite a good polling tool) or something like PollDaddy. It is important I think that the poll displays in your post. People are less likely to go off to another site to take the poll. Make the poll short too.
  • Run a meme. A meme is a bit like what we have been doing here in every post. You pose a challenge, ask people go off to their own blog and write a response, linked back to yours, and to come back and tell readers of your blog where their response is - either by a comment or in a Mr Linky. Have a look at this one I run regularly.
  • Collect some data via a Google form. Embed the form in your blog post, and then after you've collected the data summarise it in a post. Check this one.
  • Give an award. Nothing like making a list of your favourite blog sites and giving them an award. You write a post, give them an award, and then invite them to hand the award on. It is a very common practice in the blogging world to help generate traffic between blogs. Check some of the awards you can give here. Usually you use an existing graphic or generate your own, and encourage your awardees to use your graphic, and link back to your post.
The other thing you might like to think about is to somehow monitor what is happen (stats) on your blog. Not so easy to do on either the blogs or on blogs. But you could embed a counter like Sitemeter, Feedjit, Clustrmap, or even Frapprmap to at least give the impression of activity happening on your blog.

So, after that long preamble, your task is to write a post
  • that gives the visitor something to do.
  • links back to this Task #5 post.
Come back here and add your name (or that of your blog) and the URL of your post to Mr Linky below.
  • visit the other blogs and take part in the activity they provide. Make a note of how long you spent on their post doing their activity, and leave a comment to that effect. Did you find the activity engaging?
Thursday's post will be the last in our BlogFest, and, I'm warning you now, will ask you to be reflective about our journey.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Task #4: Following Blogs

Kerrie's logo

Wow, you all did so well in Task #2. You put my BlogFest logo to

In this post I am displaying some of the BlogFest logos that people have created.
You will see that in the sidebar I am running a little poll, so you can vote for the one that you think is the best. None of us will be offended if you don't choose ours. What do you think? (BTW if you click on View Comments under the poll you can leave a comment too on the PollDaddy site)

Cecily 1

Ali's logo
Cecily 2

Nick's logo

Today's task is about following the blogs of others.
If blogging is the beginning of a conversation, then you need to follow some blogs as well as wanting people to follow you.

So today's task is 2-fold.
  1. In your blog post list at least 10 blogs you think are worth following. You might like to write a little comment about the blog, the author, what you find valuable etc.
  2. What tool do you use to follow blogs? Does it have any drawbacks? What do you think are its good points?
Come back here and add your name (or that of your blog) and the URL of your post to Mr Linky below.
  • Visit the posts of others to see what they have said, and of course leave a comment.
Task #5 will appear on Monday 18 January.

We have only 2 more tasks to be scheduled - Monday 18 January, and Thursday 22 January.
Is there anything in particular you would like those tasks to deal with? Leave a comment on this post if so, and I will try to include them.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Task #3: Embedding Content

I hope you are enjoying the challenges of the BlogFest. How are you going at visiting and commenting on the blogs of others?
Try to see blogging as the beginning of a conversation. Write encouraging comments on the blogs of others, and then try responding to comments that others make on your blog.

The task today relates to embedding content.

There is all sorts of content apart from images that you might want to embed in your blog.
In general embedded content pulls in data from another place of the internet into your blog. If the content disappears from the external site then it will not show up on yours.

For example, the map below shows countries that I have visited. It is generated by a really simple piece of code that pulls the data in from an external site called World66.

You might like to try your hand at embedding a YouTube video. Once again it is just a matter of inserting the html code. Make sure though that you copy the code into the html screen of your post.

There are all sorts of things to embed: a Prezi, a Google Doc, the Mr Linky that I use, even a Frappr Guest Map.

Your task is to write a new post that
  • displays at least one bit of embedded content
  • contains a BlogFest logo (either mine or yours)
  • links back to this Task #3 post.
Come back here and add your name (or that of your blog) and the URL of your post to Mr Linky below. Leave a comment about how you are feeling about the level of these tasks. Are they too time-consuming?
  • Visit the posts of others to see what they have done.
Task #4 will appear on Thursday 14 January.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Task #2: Playing with Images

How did you go on your first task?
Remember: Your blog is the beginning of a conversation.

Task #2 relates to images. There are several options to this task and you may complete them all if you wish.

First of all, find some software that allows you to play around with images. I use XnView myself, but others use IrfanView, and Picnik.

On the right you can see the image I have created for this blog - I basically used the educationau logo, surrounded it on a Word page with Word Art, and then created an image with XnView. The result is a bit discordant and I'm sure you can do better.

Your task (do as much of it as you like - but the new post is a MUST)
  • make sure you have an avatar - you may like to check these sites: BigHugeLabs, Karoobatar, and Messdudes. Sue Waters has a great post here about avatars.
  • Create a new "logo" for the BlogFest
  • Write a post which displays your avatar, the BlogFest logo, and any other images of your choosing. Tell us what software/tool you have decided to use.
  • Put a link in your post back to this Task #2 post.
  • Come back here and add your name (or that of your blog) and the URL of your post to Mr Linky below.
  • Visit the posts of others to see what they have done. Don't forget to leave a comment - think of it as a snail trail - if you don't comment most people won't know you've been there.
    Tick the "email me follow up comments box" so that you see the conversation happening. Don't be backward about going back to the post and leaving a second comment. Try to write replies to comments people make on your blog.
Task #3 will appear on Monday 11 January.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Task #1: Setting Up and identifying your blog

Your first task is to write a blog post about joining this BlogFest.

Now if you don't already have a blog where you can do this, then you will need to create one.
You could use the blog on, or go out to Blogger, or Word Press or Edublogs and create a new one there.
Some of us have our favourite platforms but in my experience all those on offer have their drawbacks and their good features. There is really no reason why you couldn't play with one for a few posts and then try another platform.

Once you have a blog you can use, then you are ready to start.
  • Write a post about joining this blogfest and focus on what you hope to get out of your participation.
    You might even set yourself a goal or two.
    Put a link in your post back to this Task #1 post.
  • Then add your name (or that of your blog) and the URL of your post to Mr Linky (below).
  • The final component of this task is to visit as many of the blogs of other participants as you can and leave a comment.
Task #2 will appear on Thursday.