Yet more catching up!

Introduction

Again, I am still lagging well behind the events in posting webinar overviews. So as with my last post this week is a a catchup with topics and recording links for several recent webinars

If it’s on the Internet it must be true! (27/28 June 2013)

This recorded session was a FineFocus session in which @philhart took us on an exploration of the quality of information on the Internet. We shared our own concerns and Phil highlighted some of his. Phil also shared some the ways he assesses/evaluates the quality/credibility of information he finds and invited us to share our strategies.

Serendipity

A very active  session – recorded as always in which our intention was to look briefly at all three of the suggested Serendipity topics. However discussion was lively and extended about the first two, so we didn’t actually reach the third! The two topics were:

  • How do you re-charge your batteries? (prompted by end of school year for several of us)
  • Who gives PD to those who give PD? (this extended into a look at the ways we access PD).

Both topics gave us full whiteboards and we ran out of time before reaching the third topic “Is numeracy and maths really a poor cousin to literacy?”

Curation tools

One of our semi-regular FineFocus recorded sessions in which we explore a few apps with similar purposes and share our ideas on their ease of use, potential for engagement and possible use with students. These sessions are always great fun and very practical as we each find out about a different tool and then share our thoughts.

Another Serendipity!

This was another recorded session facilitated by Jo (@jofrei) and Sandra (@Marndon). Both the other Jo and Phil went AWOL to present at a conference! The topics explored were digital stories and ideas for “five minute fun fillers” for whiteboards.

Why/why not? Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn

In this recorded session we discussed why or why not we each used one or more of “the big four” social media platforms and also looked at our activity levels and our particular likes/dislikes for each of them.

Conclusion

My apologies for the very short topic descriptions! I hope to return to more complete overviews soon!

Our Next Webinar

SerendipitybsmallOur next webinar will be an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday Aug 1st at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday Aug 2nd at 7am West Aus, later in the  morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual BlackboardCollaborate room. This is one of our fortnightly unconference sessions where we invite you to bring along your “hot topics” and “burning issues”. We post these on the whiteboard and then choose the topic for discussion by poll.

Catching up! Recent Edublogs webinars

Introduction

I am still well behind in posting webinar overviews So this week is a a catchup with topics and recording links for several recent webinars

Some iPad apps

This recorded session was a FineFocus session in which I used “AirServer” and BbC App Share to share, very briefly, some of the iPad apps I have on my iPad. This prompted great discussion, and sharing of apps they use, by other participants.

Serendipity

A very lively session – recorded as always in which our focus was on multiliteracies. We also touched briefly on: innumeracy in primary school teachers, vulnerabilities to hacking in some hosted blogging platforms and the best time of year to hold online conferences.

Small, small things!

A FineFocus session in which we took a look at some of the small tools and tricks that make our lives easier. This was a great recorded session with some terrific tools and tricks shared. We all have little things that we use to help us streamline our busy lives and it is always useful to find out what others use.

Another Serendipity!

This was another recorded session in which the consensus was to look briefly at all of the suggested topics which were:

  • how do you use PLN in your classroom
  • coding in the classroom
  • how to get busy people to join voluntary PD sessions

Conclusion

My apologies for not the very short topic descriptions! I hope to return to more complete overviews from the FineFocus mentioned below which was yesterday, and was “If it’s on the Internet it must be true!” with Phil Hart. I hope to publish the overview & recording link for that one tomorrow.

Our Next Webinar

Our next webinar will be an Edublogs “FineFocus” session on Thursday June 27th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday June 28th at 7am West Aus, later in the  morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual BlackboardCollaborate room.

Edublogs webinar overview – learning styles

Introduction

This session – recorded as always was a FineFocus session in which we took a learning styles by exploring some of the online learning style inventories available and discussing their usefulness.

The session

We started with a couple of “where are you coming from” type questions. These elicited that we had all at some point both completed an inventory ourselves and also used one with students.

Because we all had some familiarity with Learning Style Inventories the next part of the session was very quick. This was just a brief look at the different types of inventory before moving on to the fun part of the session where we each tried one or more inventories and shared our results. The next part of the session used polling to look at ease of use for the inventories and the ease of obtaining useful information from them. This was followed by consideration of:

  • usefulness to us as teachers of knowing student learning styles
  • usefulness of knowing our own learning styles
  • usefulness to students of knowing their own learning styles

We finished up with an opportunity to share our own preferences – several links had been shared earlier via text, a look at our “take-aways” from the session and some quick feedback!

Conclusion

Overall this session was fun – because we all had prior knowledge of Learning Style Inventories we were able to discuss them in more depth than if they were new to most of us. Also it is always very satisfying to go and try something out during a session and share the outcome. Most people enjoy finding out something about themselves and this session gave us the opportunity to do so!

Our Next Webinar

Our next webinar will be an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday April 25th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday April 26th at 7am West Aus, later in the  morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual BlackboardCollaborate room. This is one of our fortnightly unconference sessions where we invite you to bring along your “hot topics” and “burning issues”. We post these on the whiteboard and then choose the topic for discussion by poll.

Edublogs webinar overview – Accessibility Standards

Introduction

This recorded session was a FineFocus session in which we took a brief introductory look at Accessibility Standards.  The topic is one that is becoming increasingly prominent as governments around the world set accessibility compliance standards for government websites.

The session

We started with a poll and a whiteboard to find out where we were all coming from on Accessibility Standards and their application in an online/e-learning context. This revealed varying knowledge and so provided great opportunities for discussion as we continued through the session. We moved on to look at the sorts of things that we, both as individuals and in the context of meeting our students’ needs, felt made websites more accessible.The next part of the session was a brief look at the links and possible conflicts between Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Accessibility Standards. We also took a very quick look, via App Share, at the guidelines that have been derived from the standards. I must admit that when I first looked at the guidelines I went into panic mode! I am reasonably tech savvy and I was totally daunted by the impossibility of making every piece of e-learning I develop totally compliant. I think that others in the session felt similarly – having had time to reflect my response is that I will do what is feasible and take baby steps. One of my main concerns is that this will all be too hard for the average practitioner who is only beginning their journey into developing online content and that the result will be a return to boring text only documents uploaded as documents and lacking interaction.

We also considered the impact on others (not falling in to defined equity groups) of changes made to meet the needs of specific equity groups. We compared some of the old Elluminate buttons/features with the new BbC ones that were developed through very close consultation with equity groups.

Finally we discussed some ways we might make a start on improving accessibility in our own practice – including checking foreground and background for colour contrast. Although it wasn’t one of those suggested I have made a change in my blog theme moving to a “responsive theme” ie one that is “mobile friendly” and adapts itself to the device type so that the text is readable without  zooming. I made the change because fortuitously I saw this post by @suewaters – on “theedublogger” and it nudged me into making the change. I don’t like my new theme as much as the old one – I would probably have stayed with it forever given the opportunity, but I think it is good that I made the change!

We finished with a page of links, “takeaways” and feedback.

Conclusion

This was a really interesting session partly because we all came from very different amounts of prior knowledge which always gives rise to great discussions.  Also our varied backgrounds enabled us to bring different perspectives – one of the best things as always for me was hearing/seeing the ideas and opinions of others in the group.

Our Next Webinar

Our next webinar will be an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday April 11th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday April 12th at 7am West Aus, mid morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual BlackboardCollaborate room. This is one of our fortnightly unconference sessions where we invite you to bring along your “hot topics” and “burning issues”. We post these on the whiteboard and then choose the topic for discussion by poll.

 

Edublogs Serendipity webinar overview – moving towards e-learning delivery

Introduction

Our first webinar for 2013 was a Serendipity unconference session – recorded here. The topic chosen by poll from ideas posted on the whiteboard was that of:

  • moving an organisation towards e-learning delivery of courses: organisational change strategies.

This is a topic that recurs periodically – and each time we talk about it there are different ideas and insights shared helping us all to consider what we might do to move our own organisations in the direction of e-learning whether this is part of our formal role or because it is our passion.

The Session

We started with a blank whiteboard headed with the topic title for ideas about strategies. This wasn’t blank for long as we all had many ideas about encouraging change.

The whiteboard remained central to the session with ideas added throughout the session.

The whiteboard gives only a flavour of the ideas and discussion. These were expanded upon in both text chat and audio and included:

  • more depth on some of the strategies and how they have worked in practice for participants
  • a brief mention of models for change and technology acceptance.

To get the full picture check out the recording, then add your own ideas and suggestions as comments on this post.

Conclusion

This was a terrific session! The time flew by, and as always when we discuss organisational change there were many ideas flowing. This was a session that could probably have gone on much longer with more in depth exploration of strategies and their practical implementation and also  closer look at the models for change and technology acceptance.

Our Next Session

Our next Webinar is a FineFocus session. Join Phil Hart (@philhart) for “E-portfolios – a personal journey” in which Phil will share his experience of developing e-portfolios to provide complete evidence for Recognition of Prior Learning in higher level vocational qualifications. Join us on Thursday Jan 10th at 23:00 GMT/UTC the time for you will vary depending on your timezone (check yours here) Thursday afternoon/evening in the USA, late night Thursday in Europe, and Friday morning Jan 11th in Australia – in the usual Blackboard Collaborate virtual room.

 

 

Edublogs webinar overviews – Pt 2 De Bono action shoes for 2E students, a Serendipity & shared tools

 

Introduction

Apologies once again for the delay in posting and the need to do a three in one post. Too many things happening in life and work at the moment and I can’t keep up! The first of the two sessions in this post ws the second half of a FineFocus session on De Bono’s action shoes and 2E students by @jofrei. The second was a Serendipity session – I am particularly grateful that this was recorded as I was unable to attend so the overview is based on the recording. The third session was an “off-the-cuff” session where several of us shared a tool/application we have used with students – Voicethread (@poulingail), GIMP (@philhart), Linoit (@JoHart) and Voki (@jofrei).

De Bono action shoes for a 2E student on Gagne’s DMGT road – Part 2

This recorded session was the second part of the double FineFocus session presented by @jofrei – Jo Freitag, creator of Sprite’s Site and co-ordinator of the Gifted Resources website

Jo began with a brief recap of the first session:

  • Edward de Bono’s Six Action Shoes which are the follow up to the Six Thinking Hats;
  • Gagne’s Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent;
  • the Six Action Shoes in the context of the Feetspeak Quest Map;
  • a reminder of the six shoes and their relationship to the Gagne DMGT model.

The main focus of this session was a consideration of combinations and variations in the shoes. We had a great time exploring the possible combinations of two shoe types to produce modified action plans. Jo also shared some extra shoe types of her own that broaden the program possibilities including Sprite’s plaster cast that symbolises the support that may be available through eligibility for funding!

A great session from Jo as always!

Serendipity

A lively recorded session that I was sorry to miss! I am writing the overview from the recording and although I am delighted to be able to catch the recording and to do this, I feel that the overview lacks the depth that comes from being there. This Serendipity ranged across several topics – Contacts for ESL; Which is better f-2-f or online; and why are outdated skills still being taught. An eclectic blend of topics which seemed to work very well! The conversation jumped around between topics often linking them together through context for example using online for ESL. The only way to do this session justice is to catch the recording!

Show and Tell about tools used with students

The third recorded session in this overview was a FineFocus in which several of us present gave a short “Show and Tell” about a particular tool that we use with students. This session was inspired by Gail (@poulingail) who had (the previous week) volunteered to tell us about her use of Voicethread.

Gail showed us the Voicethread site giving us the link for signing up. She also shared her own page and in particular a thread from her Kindy students about a visit to a nearby vernal pool, fantastic to hear such young students articulating their ideas about the pool. Gail continued – telling us about how she is using Voicethread to collaborate with other classes. One point she made of which I was only vaguely aware before is that you can give your feedback using other media than just plain recording on the site. This may encourage me to try again! A great “share” by Gail – I certainly learned a huge amount!

Next up was Phil (@philhart) who told us about the GIMP – his favourite image editor. Free and with similar features to those of Photoshop. This is the one that Phil always recommends to students who want something a bit more sophisticated than Photofiltre. Phil takes panoramic images – many images that are then “stitched” together. These inevitably need a degree of editing and to illustrate the advantages of GIMP Phil showed us how he can quickly and easily remove image flaws. Again a fascinating share!

Then it was my turn! My chosen tool was Linoit which is similar to Wallwisher. I have used this intermittently with students since myslf contributing to a fabulous global one instigated by Michael Graffin (@mgraffin) for World Water Day in 2011. I have used Linoit for students to give feedback on classess and also for short pieces of writing – often using an image as stimulus. Next year I will be asking students to write Haiku in response to an image stimulus. I enjoyed sharing Linit.

To finish off Jo Freitag (@jofrei) related her experiences with Voki (a talking avatar) and teenage boys in her blogging project completed last year. She emphasised how much the students enjoyed making Vokis and slso made the point that they didn’t, as could easily be the case with this age group feel that making Vokis was “babyish”. A terrific “word picture” from Jo to end the session.

This session was fun – it is always so interesting when different people share tools as we all gain so many insights from one another.

Our Next Session

Our next Webinar is an Edublogs “Serendipity” session where we invite you to suggest your “hot” topics for discussion – we then select the topic by poll.  Join us on Thursday November 15th at 23:00 GMT/UTC the time for you will vary depending on your timezone (check yours here) Thursday afternoon/evening in the USA, late night Thursday in Europe, and Friday morning November 16th in Australia – in the usual Blackboard Collaborate virtual room.

Edublogs Serendipity webinar overview – CC images “storing” for future use

REMINDER

It’s that time of year again! Over the next few weeks timezone chaos will reign. Half the world goes onto daylight saving and half comes off daylight saving. Except for a few regions such as here in Western Australia where we don’t have daylight saving. Just to make it even more complicated different places change on different dates. This is one of the main reasons we use GMT/UTC for our webinar times – because (like our West Australian time, but with much more “credibility”) it stays the same all year round.

If you have just lost or gained an hour then double check the times for anything trans-global in which you are involved. In the Northern Hemisphere you are heading back into winter so will “lose” an hour when your clocks are set back, thus our webinars will be an hour earlier “your time”. In the Southern Hemisphere you are going forward into summer so you “gain” an hour resulting in webinars an hour later “your time”

(For the link for live webinars and info about the times and topics scroll to the bottom of this post)

Introduction

The topic this week for our recorded Serendipity webinar was about how best to “keep” (appropriately Creative Commons licensed) images that we had found for use in presentations or other resources. The purpose being to be able to easily and quickly add them to future presentations. We also spent  a little time at the end of the session discussing and looking at managing student Edublogs accounts.

The session

Before starting the discussion we asked the proposer of the topic to give the context behind the question. This was mostly an issue of time both to re-find/re-access a remembered image and to carry out any rezising and cropping activities necessary.

The great challenge of this topic is not in keeping or classifying the images but in finding a way to easily store/access them with the attribution and a live link to the original source  integrated.

We began with a whiteboard brainstorm although most of the discussion was via audio and text chat. A number of ideas were shared and the pros and cons discussed. These related to platforms (eg DropBox, EverNote, Powerpoint). However there were fewer suggestions for ensuring that all the attribution information and a live link were retained.

Some thoughts on a strategy for the above

This has been on my mind since the session because of the difficulty I have myself in ensuring that students attribute and link when using CC licensed images. If I could find a strategy they could use that would tie the attribution and the link to the image for future use  I would be very happy! My current thoughts on the issue would be the following:

  1. Use Powerpoint as the platform/medium
  2. Find and download an appropriate CC licensed image (from Flickr CC search is good and easy)
  3. Check the license conditions, copy the attribution and the link to the image within the owner’s photostream & paste these to the Powerpoint slide
  4. Edit the image as required (if permitted under the terms of the license) for me this is usually limited to resizing and occasionally cropping. I use PhotoFiltre because of its simplicity. See this previous webinar overview for more on PhotoFiltre and this post from the 2011 Edublogs Teacher Challenge on Free tools for more about PhotoFiltre and the importance of image size.
  5. Save the resized image and then load into Powerpoint – alternatively you can frame as much as you want of the image and just copy/paste onto the Powerpoint slide.
  6. Position the attribution and the link either just within the image boundary or below the image. Adjust the sizes of text boxes and font so that they are not significantly wider than the image.
  7. Group the image and the text boxes together.
  8. If you need to tag in some way then add a list of keywords to the slide – you should then be able to use the “Find” option in editing to take you to suitable topics.
  9. Save the Powerpoint! You can then store it anywhere that suits you – including in the cloud.
  10. To re-use, select the grouped objects (image, attribution and link), copy and paste into your new presentation. NB if you are uploading to a blogpost you will need to save the grouped image as an image file (jpg or png are good). Then upload as usual. To make a live link you will need to insert an additional link to the photostream see below.

Link to johartoz’s photostream

I would love to hear from anyone else with ideas on how to do this better and/or from anyone who has tried/is trying something similar. This post has turned into rather more than the usual simple overview & recording link.

Our short look at managing student Edublogs blogs was around the different ways that blogs might be set up for students and how the teacher might be able to access the blog with some admin control/rights if the blog was set up independently by the student rather than by the teacher using the class set up process.

Conclusion

This ws a great session with many ideas shared. Storing CC images for easy re-use was not a topic I had ever really considered myself so I found it particularly interesting. Mostly I use my own images – either photographs or screenshots, although I do occasionally source an image through Creative Commons search on Flickr. If I need to re-use one of these I just go back to wherever I previously used it (usually Powerpoint) and copy/paste the image with associated attribution and link.

Our Next Session

Our next Webinar is an Edublogs “Fine Focus” session. It’s a long time since we talked Twitter” and there seems to have been a recent spate of h*ck/ph*sh/sp*m attacks so this week in “A cuckoo free Twitter nest!” we will take a look at some strategies that might help you evade these.   Join us on Thursday October 4th at 23:00 GMT/UTC the time for you will vary depending on your timezone (check yours here) Thursday afternoon/evening in the USA, late night Thursday in Europe, and Friday morning October 5th in Australia – in the usual Blackboard Collaborate virtual room.

Edublogs webinar overview – all about #gtchat

Introduction

This is the overview for our most recent (recorded as always) FineFocus webinar with guest presenter Lisa Conrad (@ljconrad).Lisa gave us a fascinating look at the Twitter (Gifted and Talented) #gtchat from its inception to the current position and on into the future. She also gave us opportunities for and answers to many questions!

The session

Lisa began with an explanation of #gtchat and a poll to find out our awareness of #chats in general on Twitter. Then she talked about the origins and history of #gtchat from its foundation by Deborah Mersino the first moderator, through the transition to Lisa herself as moderator, and also the support from the Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented.

Next Lisa gave us a run through on joining Twitter and also: ideas on finding relevant people to follow; suggestions on setting up a Twitter client for #chats; and some explanations of Twitter jargon.

Then came a look at the format of #gtchat

With a look at how topics are determined by Poll. This led into a look at some recent topics, and some recent guests.

Lisa then moved on to the future, starting with upcoming events and then moving into the future with exciting ideas for future developments in other social media to enhance the undoubted value of #gtchat as a professional development opportunity.

This concluded the formal part of the session and we moved on to a great question and answer session where Lisa did a terrific job in responding to many questions.

Conclusion

This was a great session! Lisa gave us a fascinating insight into the “inner workings” of #gtchat and much food for thought and inspiration through the potential future developments that will add another layer of “richness” to #gtchat. Thank you Lisa for such an interesting session!

Next Webinar

Our next session will be an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday August 16th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday August 17th at 7am West Aus, mid morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual BlackboardCollaborate room. This is one of our fortnightly unconference sessions where we invite you to bring along your “hot topics” and “burning issues” for our poll on the topic

Writing a post – the “techie” bit

Introduction

The “techie” part of writing a blog post is very like word processing. Just like MSWord or other word processing programs there are a series of buttons at the top of your page for you to use in making your text look how you want it to look. If you already use MSWord then some of these will be easy for you.

Starting a post

Log in to your Dashboard.

This will open a window with a title space and a box for you to type into. This is your new post – see below for how to make sure that the settings are right for you to type.

You can write your blog post directly in the page and change the font and other settings to suit you in the same way as when you are using a word processing program like MSWord.

What the buttons mean

The buttons on the toolbar will allow you to make your posts “user friendly”, by formatting your text with headings, colours etc and adding links, pictures and other media. Many of the buttons will be easy for you if you already use word processing. If you are not sure “hover” (mover your mouse pointer over)  over a button to find out what it does.

There are some buttons that are used to do particular things that are related to blogging. You will learn how to use these buttons as you start writing your own blog posts.

Saving, previewing, publishing and further editing

Once you start to write your post it is important that you save it often just as you would with a word processed document. You can also check out how it will look when published by previewing the post – this will open a new tab/window with your post as it will look on the blog.

Saving, previewing and publishing are done using the “Publish” panel in the right hand sidebar of the dashboard.

Further editing of a draft or  published post is done using the Posts” menu in the left hand sidebar.

Once you have finished editing then you can preview the post again, or with an already published post use the “Update” button – this replaces the “Publish” button once a post is published.

Conclusion

There are a few other items you will come across as you learn more about blog posts – but that really covers the essential “techie bit”. Writing well and making your posts look and read well is the next step!

As usual we ask you to add a comment to this post. Look at the layout (how the text and images are placed on the page, the colours and the sizes). Does this work for you? What do you like about the layout and why? What do you dislike about the layout and why?

Making your blog truly YOURS!

Introduction

This post is about going into your blog for the first time and making it yours by:

  • “customising” it with a theme that you like;
  • making an avatar (image for yourself);
  • uploading the avatar into your blog profile;
  • using “widgets” in your sidebars.

Logging in to your blog

You will have been given a link for your blog. Click the link and this will take you to the public view of your blog.

Next you need to login to your blog so that you can change it to suit you. For this you will need your username and password. You should have an email with those. If you don’t know them then contact your lecturer. Click here for a reminder about how to log in to your blog.

Once you have logged in for the first time it is a good idea to change your password. Make sure you choose something that you will remember!

  1. Go to the top right of your blog dashboard screen where it says “Howdy, yourname”;
  2. Click the arrow for the drop-down menu Click “Your Profile”;
  3. Scroll right down to the bottom of the profile page;
  4. Type in your new password and then re-type it in the second box – this helps you to be sure you haven’t made a “typo” in your password.

 

Your blog theme

Your blog theme is one of the things you can change to make your blog very personal. All of our blogs have the same theme when they are first set up. They also have the same example blog post and example comment. Once you get going it is a good idea to delete the example post and comment. Changing your theme is a big step in feeling that you own your blog!

Our blogs are hosted by Edublogs on a CYOC Edublogs Campus site. One of the best known bloggers worldwide in education works for Edublogs. She is an ex-TAFE lecturer from WA – Sue Waters. Sue writes many excellent blog posts in her role for Edublogs. They include “how to” posts, information posts, ideas sharing and many others. One of her “how to” posts is this one about changing your blog theme. This is just one of several Edublogger post links that we will use to help you learn about blogging.

Making an avatar

An avatar is an image you use to represent yourself online. Some people use a photograph. I do so myself because this works for me as an educator with a large global network of colleagues. However as a student – especially if you are under eighteen – we prefer you to use another image for your CYOC blog identity. This is for safety – we will discuss this later in the course during the Digital Safety project.

There are many different sites where you can create avatars, some use a photo as the base, others give you a series of features that you can make into a cartoon. You can also use your own images as long as they are not of other people. You MUST NOT take images from the web – these belong to the persons who created them and using them may be theft! On the left is an image made with FaceYourManga. This is one that is free and also lets you save the image as a file. Some avatar sites need you to capture an image from the screen and edit it. You will learn how to do this for projects later in the course.

To create your Mangatar avatar checkout the Slideshare below:

Widgets

Widgets are the things that sit in the sidebars of your blog. They have many different functions, you can choose the ones that are most useful for your purposes and you can also move them around within and between the sidebars. Checkout this Edublogs post on widgets including the most important ones to have on your sidebars. I love to know where my blog visitors are from so some sort of graphic of this is really important for me and I always have a ClusterMap in my own blogs.

Conclusion – One last thing for you to do on this post

Once you have uploaded your avatar and added one or more widgets  add a comment to this post to tell us what was easy and what was hard about making your blog truly yours, and why this was so!