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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thing 2


I learned how to set up a blog in college and discussed how to use one in the classroom (via wordpress). The only times I have blogged have been professionally- as a student in college and as a teacher with my students. I think it's both wonderful and scary that the world can easily access your thoughts through technology. Wonderful because it connects the individuals around the world in an unprecedented way (although language barriers might be an issue). Scary because once you put something out in cyberspace, it stays there.

I set up a blog last school year with my 12th grade students. They were assigned 2-3 posts per week and had to answer questions related to the reading in class. Other times they had to respond to a newspaper article or a topical question. The students were required to respond to at least 2 other blog posts throughout the week. I had my own account and would blog with the students. I would respond to their posts with brief comments or inquiries. The problem I found was that the students often forgot to post blogs on time and that it lacked flow to the discussions. Overall, for a first time shot at blogging with a class, it went fairly well.

After watching the video on Guerilla Season Book Club, I really like the idea of blogging for the purpose of a book discussion. I might just try it this year with my 9th graders (I have all freshman this year). Concerns of mine would include protecting the student's identity, which was addressed in the video, and assessing the blog posts . I would be interested to hear how the teacher for the Guerilla Season "graded" this assignment.

I like the (intended?) pun "Eracism"- Erase racism, E-racism : )

A lot of this sounds great- connecting kids globally.... BUT how could it fit into the curriculum state/national standards/benchmarks? be logistically feasible as an addition to computer lab time?

At college, there was a group of English professors who created online "videogames" related to literature. A teacher could request a code to enter into a particular literary world such as the world of Shakespeare. Each "world" contained various links that students could read through and explore. Perhaps I'll check up on that and see if there have been any advances.

After reading the other websites, I feel like I have a lot more to learn about the possibilities of technology as a learning tool.


  1. If you wouldn't mind, please email me the URLs for your 12th grade blogs. I would really like to see what they were able to do. A lot of times teachers "assume" that students know how to do all of this Web 2.0 stuff, but surprisingly many have not.

    The logistics of blogging are easy IF you have a 1:1 ratio of students to computers, or if all students have a computer and internet access at home. Unfortunately, we're not there yet in our county.

  2. I really believe that blogging for older students is the way to go. I have 3 teens and they are usually on facebook or MSN, why not blogs too. I really think they would appreciate being able to do homework on line. We used blackboard in college and I though it was great!

  3. What a wonderful idea to have your 12th graders blog and discuss materials in class. They are old enough that it seems do-able. If students did not have computers they are old enough and mature enough to make sure they find a friend with a computer or head to the library to post their blog. The same idea would be more difficult for students at a younger age. I think that is a wonderful use of technology in the classroom!

  4. Sounds like the 12th grade blogging went well! Because they are older, they probably have their own accounts? Did you do the blog in blogger? I teach 5th grade and have a class of high achievers this year. They would be perfect for trying out a blog discussion on questions that I might post. Is 5th grade too young? Do they each need their own blogger account? At the top of our blogs, there is a link that says "Next Blog>>" When I clicked on it, I was sent to a random public blog. Will my students accidentally be sent to a blog that might be inappropriate or controversial? Just some of the issues I have with stepping out of my comfort zone and into internet blogging.

  5. Carole, from my brief experience, blogging still seemed to be like any other assignment. Some kids might really get into it, while others won't. I agree that if they're on the computer anyway, it makes sense that they wouldn't mind blogging for a class. Maybe the trick is making it not seem like homework : )

    Sfoshag, the blogging did work well with the other kids- you bring up a good point.

    Amy,I used wordpress.com (similar to blogger) and had them set up their own accounts by their names. If I had to do it again, I might assign them numbers instead or something more anonymous. I did have them set their blogs to private with the idea being that only I and their classmates could access them. (Not all of my students followed through with that part). The students had to add each other so that we all had everyone's name on our blog page. The names were then a link to each individual's blog. (This provided a quick, effective way for me to navigate from one student's blog to another).

    You might be on to something in keeping all the kids using the same account. Maybe this way they can post to the same page and read each others' blogs more easily. I don't think 5th grade is too young, but I also don't know how to protect them from clicking "next blog" (i did the same thing :) ). I would look into how other elementary teachers have set up blogs and email/ask them. Perhaps you could ask parents to sit down with their child once a week and blog with them, so there is adult supervision.

  6. Here's the url to the blog I used with my senior students: