Classroom Blog Part 1 of 10 – Why Blog?

Posted: August 8, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Pleasantries

OK people thanks to all of you who have replied to the various methods I have used to advertise this process. Remember this is for all educators so If you have a friend or a colleague (not always the same!) who would like to be involved please forward them the link.

My reasons for this blog

Several weeks ago I went on a visit to the UK and was lucky enough to observe a Year 5 teacher, conducting a literacy lesson. What made this lesson special is that all the students were sat in front of computers and taking part in the lesson through the use of a blog. As I walked around the room talking to the various students I was amazed by the enthusiasm and eye for detail the group were displaying. I know a huge part of this was down to the teacher, but what I also found was the blog was acting as a motivator in its own right. The students knew their work had the potential to be read by a huge audience, they knew they were going to give and receive peer feedback, they knew what was required and they could quickly and easy have a look at examples of best practice. I saw the power of a blog first hand.

The Bare Minimum

Ok over the next few weeks I will be sending these blogs out…..

So how do you use them most effectively?

If you want to do the bare minimum, but still have a blog at the end, just read the info I write and complete anything that needs doing, bearing in mind I am on a learning journey as well.

To take a little more out of it have a look at a couple of the videos, see what other people have to say, follow a couple of the links to view best practice but…..

To get the most out of this process become an active learner, leave a comment, ask a question, that way learning can be tailored to an individuals needs. We can use the collective intelligences of all who read this blog to produce something better than any individual possibly could. It doesn’t matter if you miss a session because you are already confident in that area (but feel free to share your expertise) or go on ahead and figure things out for yourself.

What is a Blog?

A blog is basically a personal website on which an individual records opinions, links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis. A blog can be about absolutely anything from your favourite football team through to the aero dynamic qualities of a ping-pong ball. Once a blog is published it is available for other people around the wall to view and/or leave comment on.

The Truth About Blogging

Work Load Disclaimer!!

Lets get the unpleasantries out the way first. What is blogging going to cost you in terms of time? Blogging will not reduce your workload, it will not make all the unpleasant bits of teaching suddenly disappear, what it will do is make them a little more enjoyable. The blog will need establishing. The blog will need maintaining. I have completed a rough draft of how the project will evolve. There will be ten separate blogs posted at regular intervals (when I have time). The blogs will incorporate a number of types of media but each one will probably take 15-20 minutes on average to digest and complete any tasks that need doing. The blogs will be in sequential order working through the process of building your own multimedia engaging blog to help drive student out comes. Each week I will try to include examples of other blogs that are out there so you can beg borrow steal any interesting ideas you might come across. Remember the more you become an active member with the blogs, e.g. leaving comments or telling a friends about them the more potential followers you will have when your blogs go live.

E-Safety

Please be aware that anything you publish on the web is viewable to anyone who has an internet connection. If managed correctly this doesn’t pose a problem. In later blogs we will look at the management options availability to you to ensure student safety and anonymity. Blogs do present an excellent opportunity to develop greater digital literacy amongst students.

Classroom Blog Program

At this stage I am hoping to complete the whole program in ten separate blogs. They will all be of similar structure to this but hopefully with a few changes each week. The ten blog titles at this stage will be:

Some examples of classroom blogs: http://robinhoodpmfl.wordpress.com/How To Access Blog; http://chrisleach78.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/kids-art-blog/

  1. Part 1: Why Blog?
  2. Part 2: Choosing a platform
  3. Part 3: Getting Started
  4. Part 4: Your Ideas
  5. Part 5: Customising your blog
  6. Part 6: Adding Multimedia
  7. Part 7: Increasing Traffic
  8. Part 9: RSS explained
  9. Part 10: Growing your community
  10. Part 11: Maintaining your blog

Key Term Definition

Each blog (when necessary) I will look at one key term or piece of jargon talk and try to put it into plain English. This weeks term is ‘Web 2.0’. Web 2.0 is basically a more interactive web, as educators we are all highly competent as using the web as a library of resources and downloadable materials. Using the web in this way is fine and will continue for many years to come. Web 2.0 takes it to the next level, and is more about interactivity, sharing your thoughts and ideas, leaving comments and opinions on various topics and becoming an active part of the collective information network.

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Question of the Week (please leave comments below)

How do you see your self using blogs in your classroom?

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Comments
  1. The advantage of a blog is that it allows uploads as well as comments. They can be anything you want them to be. In my classes (at university), I typically ask students to use blogs for reflection. I never use them for assessment – even though they may be the source of future assessment.

    • Cheers for that Margaret. That will be a useful tool especially for students. I think one of the links I have put up is doing something with that. They are asking people to upload art each week.

  2. Curtin undergrad says:

    Great info, looking forward to the next lot of installments! Will you be showing examples of what teachers can do with these blogs?

  3. Undergrad says:

    Great info, looking forward to the next lot of installments! Will you be showing examples of what teachers can achieve with these blogs!

  4. Phill Parkes says:

    Great Intro Adman. Looking forward to the next installment.

  5. Grace says:

    Great blog, Adam. This will be really useful for all educators.

  6. Great work Adam, I will definately follow your blog closely and take the advice you give! I have implemented a blog recently that gives access to users to be authors. Do you think this is a bad idea? I am currently aiming at students, but want to link with teachers and parents.

    • I think the answer to the question depends on what you want to use the blog for. When you say users is that a set of pre determined people or anyone and everyone? I think the idea of collaboration is always a good idea as long as its directed and working toward the same goal.

  7. Christine Howitt says:

    Adam, thanks for setting this up and allowing me to be a part. Am looking forward to developing my own blog now that someone can “hold my hand”! Just loved the Kid’s Art Blog idea.

  8. Electric Shepherd says:

    Can you work out how to change avatars in WordPress and not use the predetermined ones? The ones on WordPress are boring me. How did you create yours personal one? Maybe you’ll cover this in a later blog but I can’t wait! Cheers 🙂

  9. I now realise how much I am still steeped in the 20th century ……………….will just keep trying to cross the bridge into the 21st!!!!

  10. Natasha says:

    Hi Adam, thank you for setting up this blog. I am very new to the whole area of blogging thus I am not sure how valuable my comments are. I am very interested to follow your blog and learn.

    • Hi Natasha, glad it’s proving useful. Like you when I begun this little project i was new to blogging. All comments are most welcome and valuable, if there is anything specific you would like to see just add a comment and I’ll do my best.

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