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I teach in a relatively small p12 school at Hawkesdale. This small rural town is 30 minutes drive to the nearest large shopping centre of Warrnambool, so at times we work very independently and to a certain degree, in isolation as it is expensive now to drive to Melbourne (3 hours away) for PD activities and meetings that so many of our city peers take for granted.

However, blogging has opened up a whole new world for us. Our students have talked about their backyards, eagerly gone home and taken digital images or else scanned them and converted them to jpg files. Their blogs have been published. Kind people have actually made comments on their blogs which means that students have a real and authentic audience. These young digital natives are then encouraged to write and express themselves and explore further some of the comments made.

So, it is with a bit of fun that we have added a widget to our sites from clustrmaps. Once a user name and password is registered, together with an email address, a code is issued that is unique to that url or blogsite that you wish to use the world map on. So, once your email is activated, you goto clustrmaps again, obtain the code and paste it into one of your text widgets. Each time someone hits your blog site a red flag comes up in the reader’s country of origin. Our students love that because they can see that people in an increasing number of countries are actually looking at our backyard site.

Another fun widget might be a clock. An updated clock of your own choice at will keep your time and allow international guests know what the time is in your country. A code is again copied and pasted into another text widget and hey presto, you have a clock. I have only just got to experiment with widgets and will continue to do so. They are fun and add extra information or pizzaz to your site.

Anne Mirtschin