This week marked Anseo.net’s 10th anniversary. Back on April 15th, 2005, I bought the domain, Anseo.net with the goal of encouraging teachers to share their resources and ideas with each other. Back then, Anseo.net was not a blog and a fairly static affair relying on people to email their ideas and resources. One could say, if it wasn’t a hobby, Anseo.net is the longest job I’ve ever had!
Back in 2005, I created two characters, Tadhg and Tanya and made a half Flash, half HTML web site. It was aimed at primary school children, rather than teachers. It’s strange that all I can remember is that it was very yellow and the characters were often animated and probably very annoying! One of the things you could do (and I don’t know why) was to add your birthday but mainly the web site was a way for me to share web links and pieces of software I had written at the time. I also wanted children to add stories to the web site but I never got any. I simply collated the best games and activities I could find. The tag line for the web site back then was: Games and more are anseo.
By 2006, Anseo.net was described as:
@nseo.net is an interactive web site designed to showcase the best Irish-based web resources. It aims to provide teachers and pupils with software, interactive whiteboard resources and relevant web links. @nseo.net divides resources by curriculum subject and theme. It also provides the user with the opportunity of creating their own resources through @nseo @reas.
Back then, I thought it was cool to write Anseo with an “at symbol.” I think the @ symbol seemed to be everywhere in the mid-noughties!
Also in 2006, the world of Social Media was starting to take hold with Irish people hooked on Bebo. I came up with the idea to create an education version of Bebo called @nseo @reas and schools were encouraged to sign up and start sharing:
- Information about the school, including contact details
- An event guide – what’s happening in your school.
- Projects that your classes have developed.
- Photo / Picture galleries.
- Opinion Polls.
- A list of web sites your school finds useful.
- Games and Activities that your school has developed.
Anseo.net needed a new look for this. I’ve managed to find a screenshot of the web site at the time, (see right). While most of the above is fairly similar to what schools now do on their own blogs and Facebook pages, my bigger aim at the time was for them to create games and activities using Opus Illuminatus. Nobody did except me.
It wasn’t until September 2007, that Anseo.net changed again to a blog. We were interested in this reasonably new medium for teachers so set about asking people to write articles for us. We had a teacher called Kat2 who wrote a few articles on phonics and Rozz had a section called Rozz’s Rambles, which was supposed to rouse some debate. You could even register yourself on the web site and start blogging about anything almost straight away. I focused mainly on the technology side of things convincing everyone of the merits of Interactive Whiteboards. I had to end the open registration after one day I woke up to find my web site full of adverts for all sorts of spam-related products.
One thing I did was I also listed any schools that I knew who blogged. On the 1st September 2008, when my own school opened its doors for the first time, this was the list:
- Carlow Educate Together NS, Carlow
- Gorey Educate Together NS, Wexford
- Inver NS, Mayo
- Scoil Chaitríona Junior, Galway
- St Colman’s NS, Kilkenny
- St Mary’s BNS, Monaghan
- St. Attracta’s SNS, Dublin 16
- St. Brendan’s NS, Kilkenny
- St. Brendan’s NS, Rathcoole, Cork
- St. Patrick’s BNS, Laois
- St. Patrick’s Junior School, Dublin 15
That list has multiplied several times over and almost all schools in the country have a blog of some sort.
In the middle of 2008, we decided to open an online shop on Anseo.net to sell software I had created. However, with my new job, this never happened and the shop disappeared fairly quickly. We also added a forum, which also didn’t really take off so that was dropped too. I also added something that I called an Edumoblog, which was basically a blog made using a mobile phone for education. I had a Smartphone at the time, which let me take photos and upload them to a blog. In 2008, this was a fairly impressive feat. Now we do it without thinking about it.
In 2010, we moved to a magazine layout, with articles divided into different categories. By now, articles were generally written by either Rozz or me. Sometimes, we’d have guest authors, which we have continued to this day. We kept the magazine layout for just over a year before changing to the more familiar blog layout that you see today, albeit with tweaks to logos and layouts.
What does the future hold for Anseo.net? I hope we’ll keep doing what we’re doing: questioning things that need to be questioned and giving our thoughts on any issues that interest us in education. If you’ve been running a blog for a while, a great tool for finding archived screenshots of your site is the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. It’s been fascinating for me to see the different incarnations of Anseo.net since we started up in 2005 and how it has evolved from the cartoonish garish yellow static site to the more minimalist blog it is today. Whatever the future holds for the internet, I hope Anseo.net adapts to it and keeps asking the questions.