Now into its fifth year, it’s been another busy year on Seomra Ranga. The number of visitors to the site has been steadily increasing, with literally hundreds of thousands visiting the site during 2011. In fact, the level of traffic onto the site increased so dramatically at the end of August, co-inciding with the start of the new school year, that the hosting company almost believed that there was a co-ordinated attack on the site and shut it down! We subsequently experienced some technical difficulties resulting in the site being down for a number of days. However, thanks to a lot of work by James in Logis Media over a weekend in early September, the site theme was changed slightly resulting in the site being a lot more stable and being able to handle the level of traffic to the site.
This year also saw the re-development of the Christmas section of the site. I had felt that the Christmas site was becoming overloaded and a bit disorganised because of the amount of resources that it contained. It was also becoming increasingly difficult to maintain and update, so I decided earlier in the year to update the whole Christmas site. This resulted in the Nollaig Shona website being born. We had been working on this new site since the summer and eventually launched it towards the end of November. We’re really happy with the way that it has turned out and the positive feedback that we have received. I had hoped to be able to add a lot more new material to Nollaig Shona, however personal circumstances curtailed that a lot. Nevertheless, the site contains a wealth of seasonal material and will be built upon over the coming years.
On the technology front it’s also been a busy year. I presented at the CESI Meet for the first time in February of this year where I demonstrated how to integrate Google Docs with the iPod Touch for assessment in the classroom. My 3rd Class pupils also joined me in Portlaoise for the CESI Conference where we gave a workshop on our use of the iPod Touch in the classroom. Towards the end of the year I gave an interview to Ros FM on the use of Social Media in the classroom and I also wrote an article for InTouch Magazine on using QR Codes in the classroom for a maths lesson. I’ve also been busy throughout the year giving courses to teachers on the use of mobile technology in the classroom. 2011 also saw the start of the EdchatIE discussions on Monday nights. This is where teachers of all levels in Ireland share their expertise, experiences and opinions on a chosen topic through the medium of Twitter. It’s a great way to discover new methodologies and links to web resources for the classroom. While I’ve been out of the loop on these discussions towards the end of the year, I hope to resume the chats on Monday nights in 2012 from 8.30pm to 9.30pm so come along and join in the discussion.
I’ve got plenty of ideas and plans for the development of the site in 2012 – these include more interviews, guest posts, great links as well as lots more practical classroom resources. Please don’t forget that you can share your resources with others on the site, so if you’ve created a classroom resource just email it to me and I’ll put it on the site. Don’t forget that you can also make comments or start a discussion at the bottom of every post. If it’s your first time to comment on the site, your comment will not appear automatically until it’s been verified that the comment is not from a spam email. After that, you’ll be able to comment as much as you wish. Lastly, you can also engage with the site through our Facebook page or by following us on Twitter. Best of luck to you all in 2012.