Today I would like to talk about blogging in the secondary classroom. Blogging is a great way to incorporate technology in the classroom without disrupting the curriculum.
My presentation will cover the following concepts: what is a blog, blogs and the classroom, the don’ts of blogging, the do’s of blogging, blog resources, student examples of blog and finally blogs and how the fit into the English classroom
Blogs or webblogs was coined in 1999 and today Webster’s dictionary defines a blog as a diary that is published on the webpage to reflect the thoughts of an individual. Blogs are typically updated daily and often reflect the personality of the author. Along with the term blog, another word emerged: the blogger which means someone who blogs. According to a study conducted in 2005, 8 million American adults say they have created blogs. As you can see, the concept of blogging is growing! Blogs are an excellent addition to the web 2.0 classroom. Expectations for students to be technologically savvy will be a huge issue in education and blogs are a great way to introduce students to these concepts. Blogs have a great future in education. They will be used to journal, collaborate and discuss ideas inside and outside of the classroom.
Many view blogs as just a way to document information as a diary or journal, but blogs are much more than that. Blogs can be used to communicate ideas and collaborate with fellow students. Blogs also can be used to flesh out ideas as well. Blogs are a great way to inspire community within a classroom. Students can use blogs to communicate and work together beyond the walls of the classroom. Blogging is more about exploration, discovery, creation and the idea that students can do things that are immediately gratifying. Another benefit of blogging is that it supports the current trend of differentiated instruction. Educators can use blogs to vary assignments and provide alternatives to assessments. Blogs are also to integrate into the current curriculum. Many teachers complain that technology is too time consuming but blogs can be easily replace certain writing assignments and promote a natural extension of the current curriculum.
There are some basic guidelines and don’ts you should follow when first venturing into blogs. The first thing is just don’t jump right into blogging without doing your homework first. Establish guidelines for your kids prior to blogging so students know your expectations. Be aware of the differences between blogging and social networking. Platforms such as MySpace and Facebook are social networking sites while blogging focuses on education and students helping each other get through the material. Be clear in your learning objectives and outcomes with blogs. If an instructor is unclear as to what the learning outcomes of the course are and is focused only on course objectives, the potential of the blog may not be beneficial. Pay particular attention to the point of the blog. A blog is not a wiki and they are not online discussion forums. The essential difference between a blog and other online tools is that it is intended to be an individual publication or a monologue to which others may comment but may not contribute. Finally don’t leave blogging to the students. Blogging can be a wonderful way to build community within the classroom. You get to know students in a way that sometimes they are reluctant to reveal in the classroom.
Some do’s of blogging. Be sure to get everyone on the same page when your first start to blog. It is helpful to take time out of the curriculum to introduce blogging to your students. Showing exemplary examples of blogs, having students practice blogging and discuss what makes a good versus bad blog or comment is very helpful to getting students on track with blogging. Its also important to make blogging fun. Be creative with assignments as well as be flexible. Blogging is a new concept to students as well as dealing with technology so allow for some wiggle room with assignments and deadlines. As for grading blogs, be sure to have clear expectations through the use of rubrics. By having rubrics, students are clear about the expectations of the teacher. Finally, blog with your students! Students find it much more interesting to have a community of bloggers where a teacher is involved. Participation is greater as well as better responses. All of which is a win-win situation.
There are many opportunities for educators to pursue blogging. As a suggestion, don’t leap at the freebies on the web. Some platforms offer free blogging sites but lack the structure a school district needs. Free sites are often full of advertisement and since some of these platforms are open, students are exposed to the entire blogging world and vice versa. Some sites that are educator and student friendly are Edublog, Blogger and Blogmeister. Edublog is free and very easy to use and set up. Another nice point about Edublog is housed in a community of educators. Blogger is also free and easy to use as well. The nice thing about Blogger is that it has good tutorials on what blogs are, in general, and how to set them up. Plus you can browse the blogs of others that it hosts. Another excellent blog resource is classblogmeister. It is very simple to use with only seven templates and this site filters each student entry through the teacher before publication
Here at Phoenixville Area School district, we have an in house server that we can use programs like blogs and wikis. This server is limited to those students enrolled here at the district. This is a great way to keep students safe and be able to respond to technology without the pressure of the outside world. In my classroom, I’ve completed a few activities with blogs and wikis. My 11 th graders just finished a unit on The Crucible in which they did some research on a character and then blogged from their prospective. My English 9 Honors classes read the story of the Cyclops which is told only from Odysseus’ perspective so they had to go home and write from the perspective of Polyphemus, the cylops that was injured by Odysseus. They also had to go and comment on someone else’s blog to add insight and feedback. Finally, my English 9 CP class blogged about a video on the ancient Greeks that was shown over the course of several days. They had to blog every night as well as comment on other blogs. Blogging is a very popular activity in my classroom and one that the students enjoy.
Blogs and the English classroom are a natural fit. The one thing that blogs can replace are journals. Instead of students writing in a hard copy journal, students can blog online. The added benefit to blogging online is that students can read other blogs and then comment on them. I think this is a great way to boost student involvement in the classroom. Which leads me to my next point, blogs can open up the discussion in the classroom. I find that students who are normally resistant to speak aloud are often more open while blogging. It is a great way to hear everyone’s voice in the discussion. A final benefit of blogging is that it promotes student writing. Students have commented to me that blogging helped them organize their thoughts, organize ideas, and benefit from their classmates constructive comments. In a recent study conducted Writing, Technology and Teens reported that teen bloggers are far more prolific writers than their non- blogging counterparts. Just to briefly touch upon the grammar issue,
Instructions : List any websites or resources that you would like to share with your viewers
Blog PP by Sandra Waltz
Sandra Waltz Sldeshow outline
<ul><li>Slide I: What is a Blog? </li></ul><ul><li>Slide II: Blogs and the Classroom </li></ul><ul><li>Slide III: The Don’ts of Blogging </li></ul><ul><li>Slide IV: The Do’s of Blogging </li></ul><ul><li>Slide V: Blog Resources </li></ul><ul><li>Slide VI: Student Examples of Blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Slide VII: Blogs and the English Classroom </li></ul>Sldeshow outline
<ul><li>Definition of blog, web-blog </li></ul><ul><li>Who blogs? </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs and the Web 2.0 Classroom </li></ul><ul><li>The future of Blogs </li></ul>Sldeshow outline
<ul><li>Blogs are more than an online journal or diary </li></ul><ul><li>Inspire community </li></ul><ul><li>Differentiated Instruction </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to work into the curriculum </li></ul>Sldeshow outline
<ul><li>Concepts addressed in this slide: </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t just jump right into blogging </li></ul><ul><li>Blogging vs. Social Networking </li></ul><ul><li>Unclear learning outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Misuse of Environment </li></ul><ul><li>Not just a student community </li></ul>Sldeshow outline
<ul><li>Concept 1- Be sure to get everyone on the same page </li></ul><ul><li>Concept 2- Make it fun and be flexible </li></ul><ul><li>Concept 3- Have clear expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Concept 4-Blog with your students </li></ul>Sldeshow outline
<ul><li>Concepts addressed in this slide: </li></ul><ul><li>Concept 1-Edublog </li></ul><ul><li>Concept 2-Blogger </li></ul><ul><li>Concept 3 – Class Blogmeister </li></ul>Sldeshow outline
<ul><li>Wikiserver at Phoenixville Area School District </li></ul><ul><li>English 11-The Crucible blog </li></ul><ul><li>English 9 H- Cyclops Perspective Blog </li></ul><ul><li>English 9CP-Greek Video </li></ul>Sldeshow outline
<ul><li>Blogs replace the traditional journal </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs promote discussion </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs promote writing </li></ul>Sldeshow outline
<ul><li>Ramaswami, Rama. (2008, November). The Prose and Blogging . T.H.E. Journal. 21-25. </li></ul><ul><li>Sturgeon, Julie. (2008, February). Five Don’ts of Classroom Blogging. T.H.E. Journal. 26-30. </li></ul><ul><li>Reynard, Ruth. (2008, October). Avoiding the 5 Most Common Mistakes in Using Blogs with Students . Found online at www.campustechnology.com </li></ul><ul><li>Catalano, Frank. (2005, December). Why Blog? T.H.E. Journal. 23-28 </li></ul><ul><li>Stahmer, Tim. (January, 2008). Think Outside the Blog . T.H. E. Journal. 28-30. </li></ul>Sldeshow outline
<ul><li>Website 1-Hunterdon Central Regional High School www.webblogg-ed.com </li></ul><ul><li>Website 2-University of Houston-Clear Lake awd.cl.uh.edu/blog </li></ul>Sldeshow outline