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Why are schools printing so much? It was this question that aroused my interest yesterday as I made my first school stop. It was one that resonated with me, since last term we resisted printing our students work as much as possible during our unit Can I make a difference to my environment?

I am writing this on my iPad from my rather hard single bed at a Blackpool hotel, after a fairly decent night’s sleep only slight disturbed by the seagulls waking when the sun rose at 4:00 am.

Yesterday I visited Chalfonts Community College and met with Greg Hodgson and Ian Usher. It was fabulous to catch up with Greg after having previously only met him in an Adobe Connect room. It was really interesting to view some classes at Chalfonts, that were using technology in interesting ways. I particularly liked a senior art class where the students are using blogs as a means of capturing their work flow instead of the more traditional art sketch book.

An articulate student explained to me the process. A blog is started using blogger. The student then uses it as a journal, capturing screen shots of their work as it progresses. The teacher views and comments on the work and so do fellow students. As their artworks progress the students add notes, annotations and reflections. this along with comments both from their teachers, peers and blog visitors allows the blog to grow. Ultimately this leads to a blog which is rich in content, design and interest. The student’s final posts reveal the finished artwork and another necessary page, one which explains to the examiners how to navigate these blogs is added because traditionally they are used to paper hard copies. At this early stage in using blogs in this way some students have also opted to send their finished blogs to the online publishing company Blurb so as to produce a printed hard copy too. The beauty of this is that Blurb only prints what is ordered and the costs for the students are minimal.

Many of Greg’s students are creating digital artworks and so their screen shots are taken directly from their computer screens. It occurred to me though that using an iPad or iPhone this would be a simple task for any student to capture their more traditional art works too. What an amazing resource a digital reflective record of learning.

The concept of sending a blog to Blurb was one that also interested me greatly. Perhaps a class could create their year book directly from their class blog?

So much learning already! Today @jjash and I are off to two primary schools in Blackpool before dinner with @deputymitchell. Life is good.

The image is one I took at Chalfont College. Can’t afford ideas paint on your walls? Just use paper instead. Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest ones.